France's WHO Academy; The Slippery Slope of Global Health Geopolitics
Newsletter Edition #93 [The Weekly Primer]
WHO and France showcased a groundbreaking ceremony in Lyon this week for the new WHO Academy.
“As a WHO Member State and a key actor in global health, France is the lead investor in the Academy’s development, having committed more than 120 million euros to support its establishment and infrastructure”, a statement said.
It is unwise to see this as an isolated event.
France is a major donor to WHO, the ACT Accelerator, the COVAX Facility, and is a supporter for DG Tedros’s re-election. In addition, France is one of the key member states pushing for a pandemic treaty and is an influential member of the Bureau of the ‘Working Group on strengthening WHO preparedness and response to health emergencies’. The country has also led the way in striking partnerships in vaccines-scarce Africa.
In his remarks, Tedros said, “The ambitions of the WHO Academy are not modest: to transform lifelong learning in health globally”. Indeed. And this has made many observers uneasy. What will be the influence of the Academy, located outside of WHO, on the organization’s normative work?
The long-winded articulation by President Emmanuel Macron on France’s determination and goals for global health leadership can be watched here.
This comes close on the heels of Berlin’s WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence. So much for all the action in Europe around the efforts to expand leadership in global health.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the U.S. proposed a new fund to tackle emergencies, last week. David Fidler, the astute watcher of geopolitics in global health, while reading Biden’s COVID-19 Summit, believes that “the geopolitical significance of the pandemic was epiphenomenal and is evaporating.” China, he says, is no longer interested and goes on to explain the limitations of the U.S. foreign policy in global health. Fascinating!
Check out our double-exclusive from last week: A Meeting Among the Friends of the Pandemic Treaty; Gavi wants Countries to Resell Doses to COVAX.
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I. POLICY UPDATES
“The quickening pace of scientific discovery and advancement of technology is making it more difficult for health workers, policy makers and other public health practitioners to keep up with evidence-based health practice and policy. As a result, it often takes more than a decade to put important life-saving guidelines into practice.”
Comments at the European Health Forum by WHO Regional Director Hans Kluge.
Excerpts from a story - Health Policy Watch:
“Touching on the controversial issue of COVID vaccine boosters, Kluge veered away from the line of his boss, Dr Tedros, who has repeatedly called for a booster moratorium, in order to free up more supplies to reach the global south.
Instead, Kluge asserted that there should be enough vaccines to go around if they were used more efficiently – quoting United States Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci who said in August that “we should do it all” – providing boosters to already-vaccinated groups in high-income countries – as well as vaccinating the world.
“My principle has been, and this was the same principle as … Dr. Anthony Fauci whom I discussed this with in August, from my mission to Washington, is: “Do it all,” declared Kluge at the presser kicking off the first day’s proceedings.
He pointed out that by end 2021, rich countries will have amassed an excess of 1.2 billion vaccine doses – if they don’t share them. “So the key issue is the political leadership and coordination to get them to those countries in need.”
See also: REGEN-COV Joins COVID-19 Treatment List; WHO and MSF Call for Lower Prices and Increased Access: Health Policy Watch
Biden Administration’s $3.5 Billion Purchase Agreement with Pfizer for International Vaccine Donation: Knowledge Ecology International
See also: Biden goes big on global pandemic response from Politico
United States–European Commission Joint Statement: The White House Launch of the joint COVID-19 Manufacturing and Supply Chain Taskforce
II. WHAT WE FOUND INTERESTING
This Is No Way to End a Pandemic: New York Times
Covid raises bar for infectious disease crisis response: Financial Times
The Corrupt System Behind Covid Medical Shortages: BIG by Matt Stoller
EU unable to cap COVID-19 vaccine prices in secret deals: Investigate Europe
President Biden's COVID-19 Summit and the Shift in Pandemic Geopolitics: Think Global Health
The World Is at War With Covid. Covid Is Winning: New York Times
FROM THE JOURNALS/REPORTS
On abuse and discrimination at Doctors Without Borders: Decolonise MSF
III. WHAT WE ARE WATCHING
WHO Sustainable Financing Working Group Meeting: 27-29 September
Gavi Board Meeting: 28 September
WTO Small Group Meeting on the TRIPS Waiver: 29 September
A deep dive on the IHRs - An intersessional meeting organized by the Bureau of the Working Group on strengthening WHO preparedness and response to health emergencies: 30 September
IV. TWEET OF THE WEEK
A word about challenging discriminatory language:
A tribute from Latin America
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