4 May 2020 - Brussels

‘Promising start for financing to end COVID19’

Althea* from the Philippines, 19 months, at the water refilling station where her parents work.

The EU and several countries held a pledging conference today raise funds to support the World Health Organisation and to fund development and deployment of treatments, vaccines and diagnostics to fight COVID-19. According to Save the Children, the pledging conference is one step forward in the race to end the crisis, surpassing the initial $8 billion pledging target for global medical needs.  

Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children, said:

All over the world, children’s lives have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Schools are closed, families are pushed into poverty, and many children may not know where their next meal will come from. Children’s lives are truly at risk, with recent projections estimating that deaths for children under five could increase by up to 45% due to weaker health systems and drops in routine healthcare.[1]

The $8 billion pledged today for the global health response is hugely welcome, but this is only the start of reaching the urgently needed funds to battle the Coronavirus worldwide.

There is no time to waste, as the window to act is closing fast.  The world has already witnessed the havoc and despair the virus has caused in countries with strong health systems, and in countries with weaker health systems, the impact could be catastrophic. Delayed action on prevention and mitigation could cost over three million lives in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa alone[2].

We appreciate the funds committed to strengthen the health care systems in lower-income, crisis affected and fragile countries, but much more is needed to truly support the children and families most in need. It is vital for countries to be able to respond to COVID-19 and to mitigate its impacts on health systems, so that children continue to receive other essential health and nutrition services critical for child survival.

We call on governments, organisations and private donors to continue to pledge in the coming weeks, and to go above and beyond to meet funding needs to strengthen health systems and protect a generation. In a crisis such as this, no one is safe unless everyone is safe. Access to medicines, vaccines and health care should never depend on where you live. Medical research and development, especially carried out using public funds, should benefit everyone.

Save the Children appreciates the commitment of donors who made their pledges conditional on universal, equitable and affordable access to medical support. Once successful vaccines, treatments and diagnostics are developed, there must be guarantees that all countries get their fair share of the tools they need, and measures put in place so that everyone can have access to them.

Save the Children is looking forward to a full breakdown of where the funds that were pledged today will be invested. Support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for their current replenishment period was welcome but rolling out a future COVID-19 vaccine will require additional funding if we are to reach the world’s poorest countries and the most marginalised families. The EU must be vigilant in guarding against double counting of commitments. We call on the EU, donors, the private sector and global health actors to ensure accountability around the use of the funds announced at the pledging conference.

We stand side by side with children in the world's toughest places.