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World Bank president David Malpass. (Photo: Getty Images)
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — Learning bitter lessons in the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the world’s economies that triggered recession throughout the globe, the World Bank (WB) has opted to create a fund to better prevent and respond to future pandemics.
According to WB president David Malpass the creation of the fund is meant to finance investments in strengthening the fight against pandemics by supporting programs for prevention, preparedness and response (PPR), with a focus on low- and middle-income countries.
“The devastating human, economic, and social cost of Covid-19 has highlighted the urgent need for coordinated action to build stronger health systems and mobilise additional resources,” Malpass pointed out.
He added that the so-called financial intermediary fund (FIF), which it aims to open later this year, was developed under the leadership of the United States, Italy and Indonesia as part of their presidencies in the international economic cooperation knows as G20 and with broad support from the said group.
“With the World Bank as the largest provider of financing for PPR with active operations in over 100 developing countries to strengthen their health systems, the FIF will be used in a number of areas, including disease surveillance, with more than US$1 billion in commitments already announced,” the WB chief added.
Malpass further disclosed that the fynd will provide financing to “complement the work of existing institutions in supporting low- and middle-income countries and regions to prepare for the next pandemic.”.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization, which is a stakeholder in the project, announced that it will be providing technical expertise to the WB to ensure that the FIF is properly established and utilized.
In a separate statement earlier in the day, US treasury secretary Janet Yellen called the fund “a major achievement that will help low- and middle-income countries be better prepared for the next pandemic.”
“Even as we continue to work to end Covid-19, today’s decision by World Bank shareholders will help bolster capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to future pandemics,” Yellen noted.
In support of the WB initiative, United States president Joseph Biden cited how more than one million Americans and millions of people around the world lost their lives due to Covid-19, thus underscoring the importance of boosting investment in pandemic preparedness.
“When it comes to preparing for the next pandemic, the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action. Investing in preparedness now is the right thing and the smart thing to do,” Biden stressed.
Finally, A spokesperson for the World Bank revealed that if the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing when the fund is implemented, it could be used to provide support against the current as well as future pandemics. (ai/mtvn)