WHO decries ‘vast global gap’ in funds needed to fight coronavirus

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference organized by Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva Switzerland July 3, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 10 August 2020

WHO decries ‘vast global gap’ in funds needed to fight coronavirus

  • More than 19.92 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally

GENEVA: There is a “vast global gap” between funds needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic and funds committed, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday, and the WHO was only “10% of the way” there.
More than 19.92 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 729,883​ have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
“The coming three months present a crucial window of opportunity to scale-up the impact of the ACT Accelerator for global impact,” Tedros told a briefing in Geneva, referring to the “Access to COVID-19 Tools” initiative.
“However to exploit this window, we have to fundamentally scale up the way we are funding the ACT Accelerator and prioritize the use of new tools. There is a vast global gap between our ambition for the ACT Accelerator, and the amount of funds that have been committed.”
He said the WHO was only “10% of the way” to funding the billions of dollars required.
“For the vaccines alone, over $100 billion will be needed,” Tedros said. This sounds like lot of money and it is.
“But it’s small in comparison to the $10 trillion that have already been invested by G20 countries in fiscal stimulus to deal with the consequences of the pandemic so far.”
However, he said he saw “green shoots of hope.”
“It is never too late to turn the pandemic around,” Tedros said. The message is to “suppress, suppress, suppress.”
Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies program, said the coronavirus was simple, brutal and cruel.
“It’s brutal in its simplicity, it is brutal in its cruelty, but it doesn’t have a brain,” he said. “We have the brains... we can outsmart something that doesn’t have a brain but we are not doing such a great job right now.”
Ryan said that Brazil is registering 50,000-60,000 cases per day. “Brazil is sustaining a very high level of epidemic, the curve is somewhat flattened, but it’s not going down and the system is under great deal of pressure.
“In a situation like that, hydroxychloroquine is not a solution and not a silver bullet,” he added, referring to the malaria drug which President Jair Bolsonaro has encouraged Brazilians to take against COVID-19.


Afghan study offer draws Pakistani students

Updated 22 September 2020

Afghan study offer draws Pakistani students

  • Medicine gets top marks among 150 scholarship hopefuls

PESHAWAR: About 150 students from northwestern Pakistan traveled to Afghanistan this month to take part in tests that could win them Afghan government scholarships for higher education, particularly in medicine.  

The Afghan government pays for 104 scholarships for Pakistanis every year, the Afghan consulate in Peshawar said. 

“Medical education is expensive in Pakistan, so we decided to pursue education in Afghanistan,“ Sana Gul told Arab News.

Gul was among 150 young Pakistanis who left for Kabul last Saturday to attend the scholarship tests.

The group included 11 female students who want to study medicine. 

Gul said that the Pakistanis are hoping that security will improve in Afghanistan, and that peace talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government in Qatar will end with a power-sharing deal.

“We believe the peace process will end with good news, so we are traveling to Kabul,” said Gul, who is accompanied by her sister, Spogami. Both have passed 12th-grade exams.

Their father, Farman Khan, a teacher in the Mardan district, said that his daughters made the decision to go to Afghanistan. 

“We allowed them to decide for themselves and we will stand by them,” he said, adding that he believes the region is now safe “for those who seek education.” 

Arshad Mehsud from South Waziristan also traveled to Afghanistan for the scholarship test in the hope of studying medicine.

“There is no doctor in my village,” he said. “So after completing this degree, I will come back to serve the people of Waziristan.”