Lyon – The Government of France and WHO today announced a new €50 million contribution agreement that will help countries’ health systems overcome bottlenecks in the COVID-19 response and speed up equitable access to testing, treatments and vaccines.
WHO is very grateful to the Government of France for its continued commitment to global unity in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. France has taken a leading role in supporting WHO’s work through the ACT Accelerator, which is crucial for WHO to achieve its mission and safeguard the lives of the most vulnerable around the world.
– Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General
The agreement, disclosed on the sidelines of the ministerial conference of foreign ministers and health ministers in Lyon, France, aims to support the work of WHO and work in the Health Systems and Response Connector (HSRC) of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), aligned with the WHO’s COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP).
The HSRC works to ensure that countries have the technical, operational and financial resources to acquire and efficiently use vaccines and other COVID-19 tools.
France’s contribution will help accelerate equitable access to all COVID-19 tools, by looking at each country’s health system’s bottlenecks and identify the right responses and solutions to them.
The contribution will work through the HSRC to help countries turn vaccines into well-prioritized vaccination campaigns; turn tests into effective test-and-treat approaches; pursue community-based testing strategies to support public health measures and the platform for disease surveillance; and turn therapeutics into life-saving clinical pathways. This means strengthening national response mechanisms, reinforcing health systems and overcoming bottlenecks.
HE Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, Foreign Minister of France said: “Global health is of critical importance to the French presidency of the European Union. This support to WHO aims to provide additional support to countries’ health systems; strengthen cooperation between actors and coordination between ACT-A components; to enhance dialogue with all stakeholders including the civil society and recipient countries; and to accelerate equitable access to new COVID-19 tools and ensure they are made available at a scale and scope in order to save millions of lives.”
France shares key health priorities with WHO, adopting a cross-cutting approach and prioritizing universal health coverage as part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
In January 2020, France and WHO signed a new framework agreement for 2020-2025, confirming France’s role as a key actor in global health, along with its strong support for WHO’s Thirteenth General Programme of Work, a five-year strategy that aims to ensure healthy lives and well-being for people of all ages.