Pandemic Fund Awards Over $330m in First Resilience-Building Grants
Investment in strong health systems is key to pandemic-proofing the world.

Thirty-seven countries have received grants worth $338 million from the Pandemic Fund to boost their resilience to pandemics in the first round of the fund’s disbursements.

Three disbursements involve multi-country grants: to 12 Caribbean countries to strengthen their early warning surveillance, build laboratory systems and workforce development; to seven Latin American countries to engage communities and territories​ in pandemic response, and to five Central Asian countries to bolster their One Health response.

Single-country recipients include Burkino Faso, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan​, West Bank and Gaza, Yemen and Zambia.

The fund, which was launched at the G20 meeting in November 2022 to help low- and middle-income countries prepare for future pandemics, received 179 applications from 133 countries. 

“We are very pleased that the Pandemic Fund has been able to move forward so quickly to allocate funding to projects that represent a good balance across geographical regions, country income groups, and participating Implementing Entities,” said Pandemic Fund Board co-Chairs, Dr Chatib Basri, former Indonesian finance minister, and Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, Rwanda’s health minister.

Independent evaluation

“All proposals were independently reviewed and evaluated by the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP)and we are confident that the portfolio of projects selected by the board for funding will increase pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPR) capacity and respond to the inequalities that COVID-19 further revealed to the world.”

The WHO’s head of health emergencies, Dr Mike Ryan, currently chairs the TAP, while the fund is hosted by the World Bank.

“In keeping with the Pandemic Fund’s mission to catalyse funding and promote coordination, the $338 million of grants awarded will mobilize over $2 billion in additional resources, adding $6 for each $1 coming from the Fund,” according to a media release from the Fund.

 Priya Basu, executive head of fund’s secretariat, said that the response to the first call was “eight times oversubscribed”. 

“This first round of funding was a learning exercise and we are committed to drawing lessons that will be reflected in how we do business in the future. We are excited to see the results and impact of our funding,” added Basu.

The fund’s second call for proposals is expected towards the end of 2023.

It has raised $2 billion in seed capital from 25 sovereign and philanthropic contributors but needs an estimated $10-billion a year for the next five years to pandemic-proof the world.

Image Credits: Tehran Heart Centre .

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