The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation this week announced that it would contribute an additional $250m (about R3.77bn) to support the research, development and equitable delivery of life-saving tools in the global fight against Covid-19.
“Everyone, everywhere deserves to benefit from the science developed in 2020,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation.
“We are confident that the world will get better in 2021, but whether it gets better for everyone depends on the actions of the world’s leaders and their commitment to deliver tests, treatments, and vaccines to the people who need them, no matter where they live or how much money they have,” she said.
The foundation said the contribution, which is its single largest to the Covid-19 fight, built on the partnerships and expertise it had established over the past 20 years.
“This funding will support continued innovation to develop tests, treatments, and vaccines that are easier to scale and deliver, to ensure there are many options that are less expensive and can be used in different settings. Today’s commitment will also support the delivery of new Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, particularly in low- and middle-income countries,” the foundation said.
The funding would also enable countries to use cutting-edge technology and delivery systems to plan and implement the rollout of vaccines, and support efforts to engage communities in the process to increase trust and improve communication about new Covid-19 interventions.
“Thanks to the ingenuity of the global scientific community, we are achieving the exciting medical breakthroughs needed to end the pandemic,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation.
“We have new drugs and more potential vaccines than we could have expected at the start of the year. But these innovations will only save lives if they get out into the world.”
“As the world prepares to embark on a global logistical challenge previously unmatched in scale and complexity, it can draw on the expertise of global organisations like Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Fund, which have collaborated with governments to deliver vaccines, tests, and treatments against infectious diseases to people in lower-income countries for 20 years,” said Melinda.
”Fortunately, reaching people with lifesaving tools is something the world knows how to do.”
“The next phase of fighting this pandemic will be much costlier than the initial development of safe and effective vaccines. Our commitment today is only a fraction of what is needed and will be focused on the areas where philanthropy can best add value,” said Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman.
“Every institution with a role to play has to be generous now. Multilateral organisations, national governments, companies, and philanthropies – we all must invest in making sure the tests, drugs, and vaccines reach as many people as possible.”
The recent funding brings the foundation’s total commitments to the global Covid-19 response to $1.75bn (R26.48bn).
By Nomahlubi Jordaan – TimesLIVE