Russia supports creation of Gates-Rockefeller "Pandemic Fund"
Moscow reaffirms fealty to WHO at G20 summit, calls for "global sanitary shield"
Indonesian Health Minister Budi Sadiki announced to reporters on Saturday that geopolitical squabbles didn’t interfere with the G20’s plan to create a Pandemic Fund to ensure people everywhere—and especially poor people—are injected in a timely manner.
“All decisions of the G20 are taken exclusively by consensus. Look, it is very difficult to reach consensus in the current geopolitical situation. But in this geopolitical situation, we managed to reach consensus on the creation of a fund, and this is the most important thing,” Sadiki said while discussing the results of a meeting with G20 finance and health ministers held in Bali.
Created in partnership with the WHO, the World Bank-led Pandemic Fund (formally known as the “Financial Intermediation Fund for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response”) will be used to support the G20’s health agenda, which includes efforts to “improve genetic surveillance, encourage the mobilization of health resources for medical countermeasures, and expand research and manufacturing networks for vaccines, therapies, and diagnostics.”
Donors to the fund include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust, the G20 proudly stated in a November 12 press release.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov backed the creation of the Pandemic Fund, and said the WHO should continue to play a “central role” in maintaining the “global healthcare system.”
The new fund is designed to “compliment the existing global health system and support responses to emerging health threats,” Russia’s Finance Ministry said in a statement published on its website.
The press released added:
The head of the Russian Ministry of Finance noted the need to prevent fragmentation of the global healthcare system and maintain the central role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in it, and also shared the experience of creating a rapid response system to pandemics in Russia within the framework of [Russia’s] current “Sanitary Shield,” which involves the creation of a system for the rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases, accelerated development of test systems and vaccines in the event of new epidemiological threats.
“We believe that a similar sanitary shield could be built at the global level,” the Minister said.
Announced in April 2021, Russia’s Sanitary Shield program aims to rapidly develop “vaccines” (based on Sputnik V’s genetic platform) and PCR tests after the emergence of a purported health threat. Under the program, bio-checkpoints will be installed along Russia’s border—a process that began in December 2021.
Attending the summit via video link, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko—a member of the WHO’s Executive Board—said the WHO should act as the “coordinator of international efforts in the field of health.”
“An important task is to strengthen the readiness of the global health architecture in order to respond in a timely manner to dangerous zoonotic infections with pandemic potential. Such a healthcare architecture should be based on the principles of transparency, openness and equal participation of all stakeholders,” he told Russian media after meeting with his G20 colleagues.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Saturday hailed the creation of the Pandemic Fund:
This new financing mechanism will be a crucial building block of a stronger global health security architecture.
Importantly, the fund has been designed with inclusive and effective governance, and operating arrangements with high standards of transparency and accountability.
We thank our partners at the World Bank, with whom we have worked so closely in the start-up of the fund.
The next pandemic will not wait for us. We must move with urgency to close the gaps in global preparedness that put all countries at risk.
Oh happy days.