How will a pandemic insurance fund help prepare for pandemics?

1Day Africa chapter manager Zacharia Kafuko drafted an initial proposal for a pandemic insurance fund and is organizing support. You can read more about the proposal, relevant background information and research, and the World Health Assembly process here.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, low- and -middle income countries failed to access vaccines while wealthy countries stockpiled them in excess. This led to the continued loss of lives for people who could not access vaccines while those in other countries continued to receive boosters. This is a morally indefensible state of affairs.

A pandemic insurance fund built up far in advance of the next pandemic would provide a way for lower-income countries to buy vaccines and reduce competitive buying scrambles. This fund would draw regular donations amounting to a very small portion of wealthier’ nations gross domestic products. It would then be mobilized in the event of another pandemic to enable distribution of vaccines more equitably, a vital intervention to limit deaths and viral mutation. A pandemic insurance fund would also reduce uncertainty about the availability of international aid and enable long-term global health planning.

In November 2021, the World Health Assembly agreed to establish an intergovernmental negotiation body that will develop a pandemic preparedness treaty or other instrument. At their next meeting in May, we want them to consider principles of vaccine equity in the treaty development process. The Economic Community of West African States is asking G20 countries to provide a combined $10 billion/year toward the pandemic insurance fund.

In an interconnected world, we are only as prepared as the least prepared country. Pandemics do not respect national borders, so there is no guarantee that wealthy nations will be able to protect themselves from future pandemics or maintain their economies without equitably helping their neighbors.