A fund for preventing, preparing and responding (PPR) to pandemics has been formally launched by the World Bank and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) will provide a dedicated stream of additional, long-term financing to strengthen low and middle-income countries’ capability for tackling pandemics. The move aims to plug critical gaps through investments and technical support at national, regional and global levels.
The FIF will draw on the strengths and comparative advantages of key institutions engaged in PPR, provide complementary support, improve co-ordination among partners, incentivise increased country investments, serve as a platform for advocacy, and help focus and sustain high-level attention on strengthening health systems. The first calls for proposals for investments to be funded by the FIF will open in November.
“COVID-19 has highlighted the pressing need for action to build stronger health systems,” said World Bank Group president David Malpass. “Investing now will save lives and resources for the years to come.
“We welcome the broad support from the international community for this new, multilateral financial intermediary fund at the World Bank to help low and middle-income countries and regions become better prepared for global health crises and are pleased to have been able to proceed quickly in establishing the fund.”
The FIF’s establishment follows approval by the World Bank’s board of directors in June. The World Bank will serve as the FIF’s trustee and host its secretariat, which will include technical staff seconded from the WHO. The governing board will appoint a technical advisory panel, chaired by the WHO, comprising leading experts to assess and make recommendations to the governing board on the technical merits of proposals for funding.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a seismic shock to the world, but we also know that the next pandemic is a matter of when, not if,” said WHO director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "The suffering and loss we have all endured will be in vain unless we learn the painful lessons from COVID-19 and put in place the measures to fill critical gaps in the world’s defences against epidemics and pandemics.”
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