BMWorldwide–Washington-In preparation for World Health Day on April 7, Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen met with Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization (WHO) to discuss the COVID-19 response and longer-term financing for, and strengthening of, the global architecture for pandemic preparedness, including through the G20 Finance Health Task Force (FHTF) and a financial intermediary fund (FIF) for pandemic preparedness.
Elsewhere in Washington, a deal for additional COVID-19 funding actually deleted the $5 billion designated for global vaccines and treatment and the entire package foundered on efforts to inject border closing over pandemic concerns.
Secretary Yellen welcomed Dr. Tedros’ and WHO’s leadership and discussed the importance of continuing to work toward the target of vaccinating 70 percent of the population in all countries this year, as well as the challenges to increasing vaccination rates. Secretary Yellen emphasized that the U.S. remains committed to helping countries to get more shots in arms around the world and to supporting robust, well-coordinated efforts, including with the international financial institutions.
The WHO web site describes World Health Day’s goals:
While the COVID-19 pandemic showed us the healing power of science, it also highlighted the inequities in our world. The pandemic has revealed weaknesses in all areas of society and underlined the urgency of creating sustainable well-being societies committed to achieving equitable health now and for future generations without breaching ecological limits. The present design of the economy leads to inequitable distribution of income, wealth and power, with too many people still living in poverty and instability. A well-being economy has human well-being, equity and ecological sustainability as its goals.”
Secretary Yellen and Dr. Tedros also emphasized the critical goal of addressing gaps in pandemic preparedness and financing now. Secretary Yellen stressed that the G20 Finance-Health Task Force should play a key role in bringing Finance Ministries and their Health counterparts more directly into efforts to boost cooperation and reinforce the global health architecture. They agreed on the urgency of tackling the chronic under-funding of pandemic preparedness before the world’s attention turns elsewhere.