Africa: Who Director-General Opening Remarks At the Member State Briefing On Covid-19 Pandemic - 6 August 2020

Reaching communities in Chad with COVID-19 safety message (file photo).

Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, dear colleagues and friends,

Thank you for joining us today.

This week's presentation will be devoted to focusing on the progress we have made in following through with the resolution on the COVID-19 response adopted at the World Health Assembly last May.

We will have our first presentation on the work of the Independent panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response - the IPPR - from the co-chairs, Her Excellency Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Right Honorable, Former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

In our second agenda item, we would like to present our plans for the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator Facilitation Council.

To help set the context for that item, I would like to give you a brief update on the ACT Accelerator which was launched on 24 April to fast-track the development, scale-up, equitable distribution and delivery of diagnostic, therapeutics and vaccines to end this pandemic.

The last three months have seen a successful start-up phase, which includes unprecedented coordination across major international health institutions.

In recent weeks, the heads of GAVI, CEPI, Global Fund, FIND, UNITAID and Wellcome Trust have all presented this work of the ACT Accelerator's vaccine, diagnostics and therapeutics pillars to you in these briefings.

While we are making real progress, we have also encountered challenges, especially in the areas of product allocation and ACT Accelerator financing.

As we discussed last week, we need a Facilitation Council for the ACT-Accelerator that has the legitimacy, capacities and experience to help address these problems.

This week we would like to share our thinking on the specific entities that could comprise the Council so that it can be convened as early as the first week of September. So your guidance and inputs will be very important on the composition of the Council.

You will be hearing about this in more detail from Dr Bruce Aylward.

We have to move fast to unblock the obstacles we are facing, whether political, technical, or financial, so that people everywhere are protected from the worst of COVID-19, and our societies and economies can flourish again.

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Now, we have a special event for today: our first monthly update on the work of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response - the IPPR - which was initiated on July 9, in keeping with WHA Resolution 73.1.

We are grateful that Her Excellency President Sirleaf and the Right Honorable Prime Minister Clark have agreed to take on this critical role. We'll be hearing from them today.

To start this engagement, and in consultation with the Co-chairs, a circular letter was sent to Member States on 24 July seeking proposals for members of the panel, with a deadline that has been extended to 7 August.

Thank you for those who have already sent in your nominations and e look forward to receiving the nominations from others before Friday.

Now, I am pleased to welcome the co-chairs of the IPPR, Her Excellency, Madam Sirleaf and the Right Honorable Helen Clark.

I thank you.

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