Saturday, 3 June, 2023

Post-pandemic world: Momen calls for global health strategy

Dhaka- Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has called for concerted global efforts and partnerships to create a global health strategy to respond to future health threats by taking lessons from COVID-19 Pandemic.

He made the call while delivering his remarks at the virtual COVID-19 Global Action Plan (GAP) Foreign Ministerial Meeting convened by the State Secretary of the USA, Antony J. Blinken on Wednesday.

The meeting was moderated by Coordinator for Global COVID-19 Response and Health Security of the US State Department Mary Beth Goodman.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered the opening remarks followed by remarks from the Foreign Ministers of Japan – Yoshimasa Hayashi, MinisterMomen, Germany - Annalena Baerbock, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Foreign Ministers and High representatives of other 20 countries and organizations intervened in the meeting.

Momen commended the initiatives and efforts of Secretary Blinken and the Government of the USA as well as contributions by the partners on this platform.

Foreign Minister expressed his satisfaction with the multilateral processes including initiatives like ACT-A and COVAX under the guidance of WHO to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with this, he also emphasized expanding the capacity of the healthcare sector and injecting sustained and significant funds for capacity building, especially in lower-income countries.

Emphasizing the critical role of vaccines in combating the pandemic, Bangladesh's Foreign Minister stressed making vaccines affordable and accessible to all by declaring it 'Global Public Goods'. He also urged the developed countries for their “Moral Commitment” to support the countries having relatively advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing bases like Bangladesh to develop their own capacity to produce vaccines through granting Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and appropriate provisions for technology transfer.

Momen highlighted Bangladesh’s tremendous success in COVID management centred on saving lives, supporting livelihoods- especially of the most vulnerable ones, and posting quick economic recovery under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

He also stated that Bangladesh surpassed the target set by WHO to vaccinate 70% of the population and is currently on course to reach the landmark of 90%. He added that Bangladesh is open to sharing the experience of its success story of the public health system’s response towards mass vaccination and hospital care.

The Foreign Minister further stressed bilateral, regional and global cooperation to continue the work on Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPR) in the coming days to combat any such future threat. He also expressed the readiness of Bangladesh to contribute to platforms like GAP.

He appreciated the idea of organizing the 'Covid-19 Pandemic Summit' to remember that the world had to witness and handle a big global crisis all of a sudden, and the international community stood together to address such an emergency health situation to ensure greater global good.

A joint statement was issued at the end of the Ministerial which emphasised the importance of mutual cooperation among GAP partners to combat future health threats. It also reflected upon lessons learned to promote future collaboration to prevent, detect and respond to the next global health security threat.

Global Action Plan (GAP) Foreign Ministerial is a platform of foreign ministers which was launched one year ago with the objective of enhancing international coordination to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen readiness for future pandemic threats. The first meeting of the platform was held on 10th November 2021 presided by the US Secretary of State.

The next meeting was held on 19th July 2022, presided over jointly by the US Secretary of State and the Japanese Foreign Minister. As part of Bangladesh’s active engagements, Bangladesh co-hosted the 3rd meeting in New York on 23rd September 2022 along with USA, Spain and Botswana. Foreign Minister represented Bangladesh in all the meetings.