The United States (U.S.) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) are still at loggerheads as the U.S. has shunned global health leaders, private sector partners and other stakeholders at the unveiling of Access To COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.
The ACT is a global collaboration to accelerate development, production and equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.
U.S. President, Donald Trump, was absent as European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, French President, Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, among other world leaders participated in a video conference to announce the plan.
Trump had recently criticised the WHO’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and announced the withdrawal of U.S. funding for the organisation.
The WHO disclosed that the COVID-19 pandemic had already affected over 2.4 million people and killed over 160,000 globally, just as it is taking a huge toll on families, societies, health systems and economies and for as long as the virus threatens any country; the world would remain at risk.
It said in a statement that while following existing measures to keep social distance, test and track all contacts of people who have tested positive for the virus, there was an urgent need for innovative COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and treatments.
Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global crisis that has been met with an unprecedented global response.
“Research and development have played a central role and since January, WHO has been working with thousands of researchers all over the world to accelerate and track vaccine development – from developing animal models to clinical trial designs and everything in between.
“We’ve also developed diagnostics that are being used all over the world and we’re coordinating a global trial on the safety and efficacy of four therapeutics against COVID-19.
“The world needs these tools and it needs them fast. Today, the WHO is proud to join many partners in launching Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator or the ACT Accelerator.
“This is a landmark collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics for COVID-19. Our shared commitment is to ensure all people have access to all the tools to defeat COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) yesterday, presented policy options advisory to defeating coronavirus.
It said it has unveiled a support programme tagged “Save Our Private Health Practitioners Initiative” to raise financial and material support in the form of donations of quality Personal Protective Equipment and infection control consumables) amounting to ₦500 million targeted at assisting private healthcare practitioners to contain and manage COVID-19 outbreak.
President NMA, Dr. Francis Faduyile and the Secretary-General, Dr. Olumuyiwa P. Odusote, in a joint statement gave stressed the value of social distancing measures, scaling up testing capacity for COVID-19, deployment of critical care infrastructure, strategic deployment and training of human resources for health in COVID-19 pandemic and protection of healthcare workers.