US Vice President Kamala Harris said on Friday that the world needs a new sustainable mechanism to finance health security in order to prepare for future crises after the global community appeared unready to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have the opportunity now to change this, before the next crisis hits, and we must establish a new and sustainable mechanism to finance health security,” Harris said at the World Health Organization’s Global Health Summit. “At the country level, we must budget for health security, as we do for national security, ensuring that the actions we take this year are not a one-off. The cost to prepare may seem high, however, the cost of failing to prepare is far higher.”
The vice president pointed out that the world was not ready for the COVID-19 pandemic with few incentives in place to encourage preparedness while the mechanisms to respond effectively and ensure accountability were far too slow.
Harris also noted that the world needs a group of leaders who are prepared to act without hesitation at first warning to stop an outbreak from becoming a catastrophe.
As of Friday, nearly 166 million COVID-19 infections have been detected since the beginning of the pandemic, with over 3.4 million deaths from the disease.