MASERU – The World Health Organisation (WHO) says there is a huge gap between the funds needed to fight the Coronavirus pandemic and funds committed worldwide. Addressing a briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said “for the vaccines alone, over $100 billion (about M1.7 trillion) will be needed.”
More than 20 million people have been reported to be infected by the Coronavirus globally and 735 000 have died, with 12.2 million recoveries, according to global statistics as at August 11. Speaking on the international initiative to accelerate healthcare access, Tedros said the “…coming three weeks represent crucial period for ACT (Access to COVID-19 Tools)”, quick to indicate again that the WHO had to scale up financing.
While the world grapples with the funding needed to fight the COVID-19 the United Nations (UN) has called for solidarity and increased funding as some of the most vulnerable countries scale up their efforts to combat the Coronavirus pandemic. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has gone further to bring together existing appeals from the WHO and other UN partners, and identifies new needs as well. With 742 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 175 of those having recovered, 24 COVID related deaths to date, since the May 13 announcement of its rifts confirmed case, Lesotho remains prone to adverse economic and social impacts.
Since the outbreak, the government of the United States of America in April committed more than $775 million (M14.7 billion) in assistance worldwide specifically aimed at fighting the pandemic, $3.75 million (over M71 million) in new health assistance to help Lesotho respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Through a grant from USAID to Jhpiego, the US government has further provided $750 000 to support the Ministry of Health in two inter-related pillars of COVID-19 response, case management support within the designated COVID-19 treatment centers and additional health care facilities as needed and context-specific risk communication with a focus on healthcare workers.
This new funding builds upon the historic and ongoing commitments to Lesotho more than $834 million (over M15.8 billion) has been provided in health assistance over the last twenty years. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also agreed to a M800 million to the Lesotho government as an emergency funding to support strategies addressing COVID-19. The money is intended to boost the country’s foreign exchange reserves and allow it increase spending to combat COVID-19 without endangering exchange adequacy necessary to guarantee the peg between the Loti and the Rand.