WHO: 120 million reasons to smile
Updated: Oct 14
While 2020 is shaping up to be a year most of us would rather forget, it has also produced wonderful examples of human resilience, co-operation, and kindness. One such example is the global partnership that is making 120 million COVID-19 tests available to low-and middle-income countries.
The organizations involved in this milestone agreement include the World Health Organization (WHO), the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), the Global Fund and Unitaid.
At the heart of this initiative is the desire to ensure all countries, regardless of income, have fair access to the tests and tools needed to fight COVID-19.
To that end, 120 million COVID-19 tests are being rolled out in up to 20 countries in Africa this month. The quality tests are used at point of care by frontline workers and provide results in 15-30 minutes, rather than hours or days and are priced at a maximum of $5/unit. This will enable expansion of testing in the very countries that need it most.
In the words of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO, “High quality rapid tests show us where the virus is hiding….(they) are a critical tool for governments as they look to reopen economies and ultimately save both lives and livelihoods.”
This global cooperation, of a size and speed not seen before, is inspiring and reassuring that in times of crisis we can and will use our collective resources for good. And that is worth remembering.
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