The Government of Canada has made the first-ever contribution to the therapeutics pillar of UNICEF’s newly-launched Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator Supplies Financing Facility (“ACT-A SFF”).
The generous contribution of $230 million CAD ($182 million US) is earmarked specifically for the procurement and delivery of COVID-19 therapeutics for low- and middle-income countries.
This contribution comes in the context of UNICEF’s work with other ACT-A partners to ensure early access to COVID-19 therapeutics. The funds will support the procurement and delivery of supplies for therapeutic interventions, such as Oxygen therapy-related supplies and Dexamethasone.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said, “We applaud the Government of Canada for being the first to step forward to fund COVID-19 therapeutics via the Supplies Financing Facility. This contribution will expand availability of, and access to, critical COVID-19 supplies, and will go a long way towards alleviating the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic in low- and middle-income countries.”
One of the initial transactions supported by this Canadian contribution will be the urgent provision of 1,450 oxygen concentrators for India as part of UNICEF’s broader response to the country’s ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The contribution will also support access to quality-assured, approved, novel therapeutics, such as monoclonal antibodies and antivirals, as they become available.
“The faster we can get tests, treatments and vaccines out to people, the sooner this pandemic can be contained. The public health emergency unfolding in India has underscored the urgency of the situation and the need for new and available therapeutic interventions,” said Karina Gould, Canada’s Minister for International Development. “Canada is pleased to be working with UNICEF to ensure that the most at risk are getting the life-saving COVID-19 therapies they need.”
The size and scope of this contribution will provide a boost for public health systems by helping with the treatment of COVID-19 patients. It will also help accelerate access to new products through the ability to engage in advance market purchasing to secure supplies in bulk for countries. UNICEF will publicly report on the supply procurement which is financed via this mechanism.
The ACT-A SFF is a pooled fund launched by UNICEF that draws on the full strength of UNICEF’s global procurement expertise and footprint to purchase supplies such as COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. UNICEF aims to raise US$2.5 billion for ACT-A SFF by the end of 2021.