Overdue: Global Fund Against Pandemics
Disease outbreaks are accelerating and intensifying, sped up by climate change, deforestation and wildlife trade.
It doesn't have to be this way.
Learn about the plan in the infographic below.
Then join the movement to win.
World Bank Ratifies HISTORIC Pandemic Fund, but our global health breakthrough is threatened by exclusions of poor countries and spillover prevention. Read our statement here.
R2H submits input to the World Health Organization's Health Emergency Preparedness and Response (HEPR) Paper at the 2022 World Health Assembly. Read our statement here
INFOGRAPHIC below is based on a memo co-written by Right to Health Action and Health in Harmony. Download the memo here.
Graph by Vora et al, 2022. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01312-y
Deadly diseases are accelerating rapidly and become more deadly
Economists conservatively predict that COVID-19 will cost the global economy at least $16 trillion
Containment-alone, without action to prevent outbreaks, is ineffective, costly, colonialist, and dangerous to global communities
Stop outbreaks before they happen
The Pandemic Fund must be accessible and accountable to low-income countries, stigmatized populations, and front-line communities
Borneo Model of listening to communities brings results:
67% decrease in infant mortality
>90% reduction in logging households—corresponding with a steep reduction in outbreak risk.
significant declines in malaria, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, chronic obsuctructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes
21,000 hectares of forest regrowth
$65.3 million in averted carbon loss
Break Deadly Silos:
Development and conservation work has been for too-long isolated in health, security, agriculture, education, or microfinance silos.
Global health and climate advocates rarely sit at same table.
It's time for donor governments to fund an intersectoral, systems-based approach.
Pandemics are coming faster—and getting worse.
There were 6 times more zoonotic spillovers of disease from animals to humans in 2010 than in 1980.[1,2] Scientists report a direct link between zoonotic diseases and tropical deforestation. We already know what to do to definitively stop the pandemics of the future.
A G20 High Level Independent Panel reported “The current pandemic was not a black swan event. Indeed, it may ultimately be seen as a dress rehearsal. …There is every likelihood the next pandemic is coming within a decade or even in the next year, and could be even more profoundly damaging to human health and the global economy than COVID.” Policymakers must anticipate, and plan for a pandemic sooner, rather than later, that is as contagious as COVID and as deadly as Ebola.
Inaction is more expensive than prevention
comparatively modest global investments of as little as $20 billion annually will avert $31-$50 trillion in economic losses—and save millions
of lives. By all counts, insufficient action is overwhelmingly more expensive than even the boldest pandemic prevention plan.
We need both containment and prevention
More than two years after COVID-19 exploded worldwide, policymaker discussions of “pandemic preparedness” are still overwhelmingly focused exclusively on containment — that is, detecting future outbreaks sooner, and responding faster to stop the spread of diseases. Containment is urgently important, as is every possible measure to support developing countries to fully implement an expanded version of WHO's International Health Regulations (IHRs) agenda.
But, as COVID-19 has demonstrated repeatedly, even the most prepared, best resourced national containment plans are defeated in the face of increasingly aggressive viral antagonists — even more when factoring in vaccine hesitancy.
What is missing is action to stop outbreaks from happening in the first place. Global leaders seeking to stop pandemics must incorporate an additional, high-priority focus on tackling the environmental drivers of zoonotic spillover. Without true prevention measures, the globe is merely paying to send outmatched firetrucks to a raging conflagration. We propose instead models that stop the fire from ever igniting.
A pandemic prevention model:
Set measurable goals for containment--traditional global health security. Put funds on the table to meet the IHRs in all low- and middle-income countries in five years. But don't stop there.
Direct funding towards the proven spillover prevention models that reduce deforestation by 80-90% and higher, steeply reducing risk of outbreaks. Bring these models to scale, and replicate across all high-risk zoonotic spillover communities.
Spillover prevention includes significant knock-on benefits for human and animal health, human rights, and climate, biodiversity and wildlife conservation.
Support large-scale, pathogen-agnostic global surveillance systems
Always-warm system ready to produce vaccines worldwide in 100 days (not three years) and share the products of public research.
Train and retain professional and community health workers needed to support the health systems we need to stop pandemics and realize the right to health.
What a Global Pandemic Fund should fund:
Pandemic Containment and Prevention Plans in low- and middle-income zoonotic spillover hotspot countries.
Set a deadline to meet World Health Organization IHRs and Global Health Security Agenda targets to contain outbreaks, building health systems, and moving towards the human right to health.
Support community health, jobs training, and policy changes to halt deforestation and unsafe wildlife trade.
U.S. contributions to a Global Pandemic Fund should be matched by other donors 2:1
Repeat success by copying the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria’s lean structures of Secretariat / North-South-CSO Board / Country Coordinating Mechanisms (see below).
Case Study Indonesia: Cost-Effective Pandemic Prevention
In 2007, a program in Indonesia asked Indigenous communities in the Borneo Rainforest, “What do you need to stop logging?” The community deliberated and finally responded that, in a deforestation-based local economy, they would need alternative livelihood training—new jobs. They also responded that the highest local costs to individuals was health care.
In response, Health in Harmony, the NGO leading the work, invested $5.2 million over 10 years in an Indonesian medical center, as well as a locally operated jobs training program. The organization is now replicating this model, protecting nine million hectares of tropical forest at sites in Indonesia, Madagascar, and the Amazon — an area larger than the UK. Researchers from Stanford University analysed 10 years of data from the most mature site in Borneo, and published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 
How a Global Pandemic Prevention Fund should operate:
To facilitate locally-designed, country-owned health systems and solutions that are effective and sustainable, a new pandemic prevention initiative can borrow pages from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM):
Donors contribute to a pool. Poor countries apply, jointly with civil society, faith-based organizations (FBOs) and the private sector.
The initiative’s board should include an equal number of donor and implementing countries, and include protected seats for civil society, Indigenous people, and communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and future pandemics.
Replicate GFATM’s “Country Coordinating Mechanism” to convene civil society, public institutions, and communities to create national and community-level Pandemic Prevention Plans and submit for funding.
At the national- and community-level in zoonotic spillover hotspot countries, convene public sector health officials, civil society, faith-based organizations and public health institutions to devise costed country- and community- owned plans to to stop spillover events, and meet IHRs priority actions identified in joint external evaluation (JEE) reports.
Use online listening and training programs in conjunction with WHO to convene in-country teams to meet with Indigenous and local rainforest communities to learn about the drivers of - and determine solutions to - forest degradation.
This infographic was adapted from a memo co-written by Right to Health Action and Health in Harmony. Download the memo here
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