Preventing the Next Pandemic: A Challenge Fund to Build Health Security

The Nuclear
Threat Initiative and other organizations focused on global health security are
proposing a new “challenge fund” to help fill critical gaps in pandemic
preparedness—gaps underscored by the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis. A Global
Health Security (GHS) Challenge Fund,
outlined in a concept note, would help build
country capacity where it is needed most by disbursing loans and grants so that
countries can make progress on preparedness.

Although there
is no global threat more likely and less well-funded than a catastrophic
pandemic, evidence shows that no country is fully prepared. Despite advances in
assessment and planning in recent years, there has not been enough political
will to finance National Action Plans for Health Security developed by more
than 100 countries around the world.

The 2019 Global Health
Security Index
found that the average overall health security score for countries is
just 40.2 out of 100, and the gap in preparedness
financing for low and lower-middle income countries is large

Challenge Fund would allow funding to be disbursed in a transparent and
comprehensive way, with resources flowing directly to eligible countries to
fill gaps and make measurable progress against widely agreed measures of
preparedness. The fund would disburse loans and grants that are managed within
a country’s national budget and would be administered over an agreed period of
time to increase accountability and promote a sustainable way to shift
accounting lines away from donor balance sheets to national budgets. 

Recommendations for operationalizing the GHS
Challenge Fund include:

  1. The Fund should be resourced at an initial level of at least
    $1 billion USD with a mix of public and private international financing,
    operating as an accelerator for sustainable domestic financing of preparedness.
  2. Funding should be prioritized for countries with the
    greatest need and those that have undertaken a rigorous assessment of their
    preparedness gaps.  
  3. The Fund would prioritize technical assistance and resources
    to prioritize and fill gaps.
  4. Funding should be matched by recipients at different levels
    depending on country need.
  5. The Fund should create clear incentives and benchmarks for
    progress, based on agreed measures of preparedness.
  6. The GHS Challenge Fund could help spur country demand by
    linking to World Bank IDA funds for preparedness.

details can be found in the full concept note, found here.

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