Home International Gates ups Covid-19 pandemic funds to $250m

Gates ups Covid-19 pandemic funds to $250m

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Bill Gates says Trump WHO move ‘makes no sense’.

London – Pulling funding from the World

Health Organization (WHO) is a dangerous and nonsensical move

when the world is facing the health crisis brought by the

Covid-19 disease pandemic, Melinda Gates said on Wednesday.

Announcing an extra $150 million of funding from The Bill &

Melinda Gates Foundation to help speed the development of

treatments, vaccines and public health measures to tackle the

new coronavirus outbreak, Melinda Gates said the WHO was

“exactly the organisation that can deal with this pandemic”.

“De-funding the WHO makes absolutely no sense during a

pandemic. We need a global coordinated response,” Gates, who

co-chairs the foundation with the billionaire Microsoft

co-founder Bill Gates, said in a telephone interview.

“When you’re in a crisis like this, it’s all hands on deck.”

President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday a halt in US funding to the WHO, saying it had “failed in its basic duty” in

allowing the pandemic to take hold.

The Gates Foundation is the second largest donor to the WHO

behind the United States. Melinda Gates said earlier

that cutting WHO funding in a health crisis was “as dangerous as

it sounds”.

The WHO’s Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said

on Wednesday he regretted Trump’s decision. He said the

organisation was still assessing the impact and would “try to

fill any gaps with partners”.

The philanthropic Gates Foundation’s new $150 million

commitment brings its Covid-19 funding for the international

response to date to $250 million, but Gates said any gap left in

the WHO’s funding would be very hard for others to fill.

Alongside support for new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines,

the Gates money is primarily aimed at helping poorer countries

and vulnerable populations handle the oncoming and spreading

pandemic and the poverty it will cause.

“We really as a global community need to address what is now

just beginning in African and South Asian countries. We see a

huge need, and that’s why we have more than doubled our

commitment,” she said.

Praising what she described as “heroic work” by local

leaders and healthcare workers in poorer countries seeking to

protect vulnerable communities and slow the spread of Covid-19,

Melinda Gates said the world’s response to the pandemic “will

not be effective unless it is also equitable”.

“Whenever a health crisis hits like this, it’s the people on

the margins that it hits the very most,” she said. “They’re the

ones we need to help to ensure things like cash transfer

payments are made and they have access to primary healthcare.”

There are currently no effective vaccines, drugs or other

immune system treatments approved to treat COVID-19, the disease

caused by the new coronavirus.

The $150 million of extra funding adds to an initial

$100 million from the Gates Foundation designed to

kick-start scientific and public health projects.

Gates said the Foundation is backing eight projects seeking

potential solutions for Covid-19 vaccine development and has

co-funded enhanced virus detection capacity in Africa as well as

contributing to the response in China. 

Reuters