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Kingdom of Saudi Arabia host G20 health ministers virtual meeting

By Caribbean News Global fav

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – At the virtual meeting of G20 health ministers hosted by Saudi Arabia held April 19, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the concrete actions the Kingdom is taking with the G20 Global Innovation Hub for Improving Value in Health, the Digital Health Task Force and the Global Patient Safety Leaders Group, and for its strong commitment to Health for All.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your generous support – the US$500 million you have announced”, WHO director-general Ghebreyesus said. He restated appreciation to the G20 leaders, as expressed in their recent statement, committing to further strengthen WHO’s mandate in coordinating the international fight against the pandemic.”

WHO director-general Ghebreyesus noted that all countries have been affected, and are all at different stages of the response, plan to ease social restrictions.

“It is critical that these measures are a phased process. Lifting so-called lockdown restrictions is not the end of the epidemic in any country; it’s just the beginning of the next phase, that countries educate, engage and empower their people to prevent and respond rapidly to any resurgence;

  • To ensure they have the capacity to detect, test, isolate and care for every case, and trace every contact; and to ensure their health systems have the capacity to absorb any increase in cases.”

Director-general Ghebreyesus expressed deep concern that the virus now appears to be gathering pace in countries that lack the capacity of many G20 countries to respond to it. “Urgent support is needed, not only to support countries to respond to COVID-19 but to ensure other essential health services continue”, he said.

Working with partners to save lives, WHO director-general said, “We’ve engaged thousands of scientists and experts all over the world to develop detailed technical guidance for countries.

“We’ve shipped supplies of lab diagnostics and personal protective equipment to many countries, and expanded testing capacity. We’ve provided training for more than 1.5 million health workers. We’ve launched the Solidarity Trial, to generate robust safety and efficacy data about the four drugs under trial.

The International community has rallied in support of the global response.

“More than 900 million US dollars have been pledged for our first Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, that includes, USD$150 million through the Solidarity Response Fund, from more than 247,000 individuals, corporations and foundations.

“One of the biggest challenges we face in Africa and other countries is the critical shortage of supplies, and the ability to deliver them because of weak supply chains. WHO is working with the International Chamber of Commerce and the B20 group of business leaders from G20 countries to increase the production and equitable distribution of these life-saving tools. Through the United Nations Supply Chain Task Force, we’re working with the World Food Programme and other partners to distribute personal protective equipment to countries all over the world,” Director-general Ghebreyesus said.

WHO director-general had three requests:

First, we urge each of your countries to continue to fight the pandemic with determination, guided by science and evidence.

Second, we are looking to the G20 countries to continue to support the global response to COVID-19.

We will soon publish a second Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, with an estimate of the resources needed for the next phase of the response. We echo president Ramaphosa’s appeal on behalf of the African Union to G20 countries to support African countries with stimulus packages and debt relief so they can focus on fighting the pandemic.

Third, we call on all G20 countries to work together to increase the production and equitable distribution of essential supplies, and to remove trade barriers that put health workers and their patients at risk.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of a simple truth: we are one humanity,” director-general Ghebreyesus expressed. “We share the same planet. We share the same hopes and dreams. We share the same destiny”.



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