November 21, 2022
Organisations call for provisions for animal health within G20-backed fund
Members and supporters of the Action for Animal Health coalition have published an open letter urging the World Bank to include provisions for animal health services within its G20 Summit-backed Pandemic Fund.
The fund was launched on November 13 to coincide with this year's G20 Bali Summit in Indonesia. The summit will see global leaders discuss pandemic prevention, preparedness and response measures.
The fund looks to address the gaping weaknesses that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed. It is hoped the open letter will prompt proper investment into animal health.
Signatories of the letter include Brooke, Four Paws, The Preventing Pandemics at the Source secretariat, and Vétérinaires Sans Frontières International (VSF)
VSF state that the fund must look beyond surveillance and ensure that there is an investment in the strengthening of all health systems. In fact, an estimated 60% of known infectious diseases and up to 75% of new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals.
The letter stated: "The World Bank's Pandemic Fund will only truly support preventing future pandemics if it invests in the strengthening of all health systems from the ground upwards."
"The World Bank's own report, "Putting Pandemics Behind Us", argues that prevention is better than cure, imploring leaders to take a One Health approach to address pandemic risk at the source," the letter stated. "Chronic underinvestment in animal health systems leaves us at risk of future pandemics. It has led to critical shortages in animal health workforces, reduced access to medicines and vaccines, and poor animal welfare in parts of the world. For example, in Ghana, there are around 950 animal health workers, despite demand requiring around 8,500 (Veterinary Services Department, 2021). Such gaps in resources and knowledge leave animals and humans at risk, as the pace of outbreaks accelerates."
The letter added: "Earlier this year, we were pleased to share our recommendations for the fund with the World Bank. Whilst we welcome moves from the fund to ensure representation of experts in One Health on the technical advisory board, our position remains clear; funds must be allocated to build strong animal health services."
- Open Access Government