French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have called for allocating more funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) and expanding its powers to make it more capable of fighting future pandemics.
The proposals were floated by the leaders as they addressed the 74th World Health Assembly that kicked off on Monday. The gathering, organized by the WHO, is being held online this year, and the leaders provided pre-reordered statements for the opening session.
“We have to improve the funding for the World Health Organization so that it is more sustainable, more foreseeable, and less dependent on a few large donors,” Macron said in his message. “We must also consider the proposals on the table today to significantly strengthen the independence and authority of the organization.”
The UN health watchdog should also be granted additional powers and be given easier access to potentially pandemic-capable outbreaks in its member states, France’s president said, urging the international community to grant more powers to the body.
I support the proposal to give WHO the ability to investigate potentially pandemic pathogens, which would give it rapid access to all the territories concerned. Transparency and data sharing are absolutely key.
A similar opinion was expressed by Merkel, who warned that not only is the Covid-19 pandemic not over yet, but it definitely isn't the last worldwide outbreak that humanity will face. Germany’s leader supported the idea of establishing a “global health threats council” of sorts, that would be able to “monitor adherence to health regulations in the member states.”
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“The priority must be to enable the world to respond to pandemic threats as rapidly as possible,” she stated. As the WHO remains the only global health body, its powers should be expanded to tackle future crises more efficiently, Merkel said.
The WHO should therefore continue to play a leading role in global healthcare. If it is to do so, however, we must provide it with lasting financial and personnel support. We’ve been talking about this for years, but now it is all the more important to act at last.
More than 167 million people have contracted Covid-19 worldwide during several waves of the disease. Nearly 3.5 million people have succumbed to the virus. The US remains the country with the most cases detected, as its all-time tally stands at 33.1 million.
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Recently, the country with the second-highest tally, India, has seen a massive surge in coronavirus cases, with its count of 26.7 million rapidly approaching that of the US.
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