Disease surveillance, lab systems, and human resources will be key initial priorities
Washington, Dec. 14, 2022 – The new Pandemic Fund created to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPR) capacities at national, regional, and global levels will launch its first round of funding in January 2023. During its third meeting on December 12 and 13, 2022, the fund’s Governing Board agreed that projects financed through the first round of funding in low- and middle-income countries will prioritize disease surveillance, national laboratory systems and human resources.
In his address to the Board, Co-chair, Dr. Chatib Basri, noted the good progress made on many fronts in the three months since the Pandemic Fund was formally established. Last month, the fund received strong endorsement from G20 Finance and Health Ministers at their meeting in Bali.
“The next pandemic might be just around the corner. The Pandemic Fund is working fast to deliver on the first round of funding effectively and with impact,” said Dr. Basri. “Available financial resources need to be deployed wisely, learning, adapting, and adjusting along the way. Moreover, given the large financing needs in this space, grants from the Pandemic Fund will need to play a truly catalytic role.”
Over the two-day meeting, the Board also made progress on multiple work streams, including the results framework, principles for co-financing and co-investment, and the formation of the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP). The Pandemic Fund is hosted by the World Bank with the World Health Organization chairing the Technical Advisory Panel.
The Board selected Dr. Joy St John, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency, as Vice-chair of the TAP alongside Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the Health Emergencies Program at the World Health Organization, who will serve as the TAP Chair. Dr. St John will immediately focus on the selection process of 20 experts to form the TAP. The TAP’s role includes assessing and making recommendations to the Board on the technical merits of proposals for funding, ensuring linkages to the International Health Regulations (2005) and other internationally endorsed legal frameworks, consistent with a One Health approach, as part of the broader global PPR architecture.
“The Pandemic Fund is a real opportunity to do things differently and help countries, regions and the world mitigate the risk of future health threats,” said Priya Basu, Executive Head of the Pandemic Fund Secretariat. “It is important that the Board reached consensus on the critical priorities for pandemic preparedness under the first round of funding, with an emphasis on country ownership and the need for projects to catalyze additional financing, incentivize countries to increase their own efforts, and promote coordination.”
Dr. Daniel Ngamije, who served as Board co-chair, will not continue in this capacity after he stepped down from his position as Health Minister of Rwanda. Board members expressed appreciation of his leadership and hard work. In recognition of the limited time available to select a new co-Chair, and at the Board’s request, Dr. Chatib Basri agreed to serve as sole Board Chair.
The Board also welcomed France, India and The Netherlands, which signed contribution agreements and joined the Pandemic Fund’s Board. The recently announced pledges from the Netherlands, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland and a top-up from Australia bring the total pledges to US$1.6 billion from 25 donors.