GHTC statement on the G20 Health Ministers Declaration
The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) strongly endorses yesterday’s declaration from G20 health ministers elevating the importance of investments in new tools and technologies to fight infectious diseases—work that has provided a strong foundation for combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and can be broadly beneficial in confronting a wide range of other threats.
There is now a growing understanding of what GHTC members have long understood: infectious diseases are formidable foes that easily traverse national borders with the potential to inflict substantial damage on people and economies. The G20 statement affirms that our best defense is to support international collaborations to produce new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests and make them affordable and accessible everywhere.
GHTC welcomes the support expressed by G20 leaders for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), highlighting the importance of this landmark cooperation to accelerate the development, manufacturing, distribution of, and equitable access to new health technologies in the fight against COVID-19. It is now imperative that G20 members match their rhetoric with action and make concrete funding commitments to close the US$28 billion funding gap for ACT-A, including the $4.6 billion in urgent investment that it needs in the coming months to fulfill its mandate.
G20 leaders should also continue to work collaboratively with the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response and the International Health Regulations Review Committee on evaluating the global health response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that the recommendations and lessons outlined by these review processes lead to concrete reforms. Now is the time to take important steps to strengthen global mechanisms and infrastructure and build back better to ensure that we develop the preparedness and response capacities needed for the next pandemic.
The ministers also rightly noted that even as we fight COVID-19, we must continue supporting research and development (R&D) that addresses other emerging threats. They point to the need for new tools to fight antimicrobial resistance (AMR), including drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis. The ministers called on G20 member states to pursue international collaborations to develop better antimicrobials, vaccines, and diagnostics and noted the importance of the Global AMR R&D Hub to facilitate this work.
As the world grapples with COVID-19, it is critical for the G20 health ministers to take a lead role in highlighting the importance of health R&D, both to respond to the current pandemic and answer the call of many other health challenges. The forceful statement from the ministers is a timely reminder that subduing global health threats requires rallying a global community around an effective strategy, one that includes a strong emphasis on innovation and equitable access.