The World Health Organization needs reliable financing with higher donations from member states, German chancellor Angela Merkel has said.
Countries should increase their funding to the World Health Organization, Ms Merkel has said.
Ms Merkel, who is due to step down as German leader within the next few weeks, was speaking at a special assembly of the WHO, where its 194 member states are discussing whether to start negotiations on a pandemic accord. She said the UN agency needed reliable funding. “The catastrophic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of health and the economy ought to be a lesson to us,” she said by video message.
“Viruses know no national borders. That’s precisely why we should lay down measures to be taken to improve prevention, early detection, and response in internationally binding fashion.” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the assembly the new omicron variant underlined “ just how perilous and precarious our situation is” and he called for a “legally binding” agreement.
“Indeed, omicron demonstrates just why the world needs a new accord on pandemics.”
He also said many uncertainties remain about just how transmissible and severe infection by the highly mutated omicron might be. “We don’t yet know whether omicron is associated with more transmission, more severe disease, more risk of infections, or more risk of evading vaccines,” he said.
Dr Tedros added that South Africa and Botswana should be praised not “penalised” for telling the world about the variant. “Our current system disincentivizes countries from alerting others to threats that will inevitably land on their shores,” he said.