July 1, 2022

New Accord to Improve Health and Vaccine Equity for 1.2 Billion People in Lower-Income Countries

3 min read

A groundbreaking initiative launched today at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos 2022 aims to greatly reduce the health inequities that exist between many lower-income countries and the rest of the world.

An Accord for a Healthier World is led by Pfizer. The pharmaceutical company will offer all its patent-protected medicines and vaccines, including the COVID jab, that are available in the United States and the European Union on a not-for-profit basis to 1.2 billion people in 45 lower-income countries.

“As we learned in the global COVID-19 vaccine rollout, supply is only the first step to helping patients. We will work closely with global health leaders to make improvements in diagnosis, education, infrastructure, storage and more. Only when all the obstacles are overcome can we end healthcare inequities and deliver for all patients,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer.

Pfizer will work with healthcare officials in Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda to identify early insights and opportunities to ensure all medicines and vaccines can reach those in need. This will include expertise to support diagnosis, healthcare professional education and training along with supply chain management and other infrastructure enhancements. Learnings from these five countries will be applied to support a rollout to 40 more countries.

“This is how all global problems should be tackled,” said Lazarus Chakwera, President of Malawi. “The great thing about this accord is that it helps low-income countries without violating their dignity and agency as people, for it is a true partnership that involves both Pfizer and countries like Malawi sharing the burden of costs and tasks in the production and delivery of supplies that will save millions of lives.”

The collaboration seeks to identify quick and efficient regulatory pathways and procurement processes to reduce the longer amount of time it can take to make new medicines and vaccines available in these countries. Pfizer has committed to provide 23 medicines and vaccines that treat infectious diseases, certain cancers and rare and inflammatory diseases. It also plans to add future medicines and vaccines on a not-for-profit basis.

The accord, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is advancing work on the development of vaccine candidates for the prevention of Group B Streptococcus, a leading cause of stillbirth and newborn mortality in low-income countries. They are also discussing opportunities to support respiratory syncytial virus vaccine development, another maternal vaccine.

“Everyone, no matter where they live, should have the same access to innovative, life-saving drugs and vaccines,” said Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “[The accord] could help millions more people in low-income countries get the tools they need to live a healthy life. Pfizer is setting an example for other companies to follow.”

Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, described the accord as an important step towards sustainable health security for countries at every income level. “Rapid and affordable access to the most advanced medicines and vaccines is the cornerstone of global health equity,” he said.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana, said true health equity needs strong cooperation between the public and private sectors. “We must continue to strive for quality healthcare for all people to live longer, stronger and healthier lives,” he said.

Macky Sall, President of Senegal, said the accord works towards a better world. “Senegal proudly supports the launch of An Accord for a Healthier World to improve health equity and outcomes for the people of our country and across the world,” he said.

Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, said it is important that partners find new ways to address challenges in access to medicines. “It is the time to close the health equity gap,” he said.

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