New Delhi: UNICEF has launched a fund to support low- and middle-income countries access to COVID-19 health supplies, including vital tests, treatments and vaccines. The fund, which leverages UNICEF’s Procurement Services to purchase supplies, provides an opportunity for donors to join the largest health and vaccines supply operation the world has ever seen.
The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator Supplies Financing Facility (“ACT-A SFF”) aims to initially raise US$2.5 billion by the end of 2021. Of this, US$1 billion is intended for vaccines and associated immunization campaign supplies including those not covered financially by the COVAX Facility, such as AMC92 country cost-sharing doses through COVAX and support for self-financing participants’ vaccine and delivery costs. Another US$1 billion is for diagnostics and US$500 million is for therapeutics.
Contributions to the facility will help bring the world closer to the global ACT-A goal of providing low- and middle-income countries with the health supplies they need to help bring the acute phase of the pandemic to an end.
“An undertaking of this magnitude requires immediate support, which is why UNICEF has established the ACT-A Supplies Financing Facility,” said Etleva Kadilli, Director of UNICEF Supply Division. “The facility serves as one of the most efficient and most impactful vehicles for supporting the global COVID-19 response by making targeted interventions to get supplies to where they are needed at competitive prices.”
The Government of Denmark has contributed to the fund with a donation of US$4.8 million for immunization supplies to be used in Africa. These supplies will include cold chain and personal protective equipment (PPE) that are essential for carrying out safe COVID-19 immunization campaigns.
”Denmark’s contribution to UNICEF is a testimony to our strong support to the world’s poorest countries in the face of the pandemic. We need effective partnerships and global solidarity to overcome the biggest logistical challenge the world has ever seen. Denmark is proud to partner with UNICEF to accelerate free and fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and supplies to low-income countries,” said Flemming Møller Mortensen, Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation.
“We are grateful to the Government of Denmark for this generous and timely contribution. This support ensures UNICEF can continue to procure and deliver crucial supplies to countries in Africa so their health systems and the communities who depend on them are protected,” added Kadilli.
Since April 2020, the ACT-A partnership has supported the fastest, most coordinated and successful global effort in history to develop tools to fight a disease. UNICEF, as a key partner in ACT-A, is leading on the procurement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines for around 100 countries on behalf of COVAX. UNICEF is also working to procure and deliver much-needed therapeutics and diagnostics, as well as supporting country preparedness efforts for the vaccine roll-out and strengthening of health systems.
The launch of the SFF also complements UNICEF’s efforts to accelerate access to lifesaving supplies, including vaccines and other non-immunization commodities, through its Vaccine Independence Initiative (“VII”) financial mechanism. In 2020, VII supplied hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines for non-COVID-19 immunizations, as well as millions of gloves, masks and medical supplies, as well as other essential commodities.