UN pandemic treaty in jeopardy?

24 January, 2024

The head of the UN health agency raised concerns on Monday that the draft of a global agreement to head off a future pandemic may not be finalized by May this year, as previously agreed.

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"Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was addressing the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board when he said that “several outstanding issues” still needed to be resolved by governments and that time was “very short” to find consensus.

“A failure to deliver the pandemic agreement and the International Health Regulations amendments will be a missed opportunity for which future generations may not forgive us,” Tedros said.

Legally binding

"The WHO chief’s warning follows agreement by Member States of the UN agency to start a process to draft and negotiate a “convention, agreement or other international instrument” to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response after the huge loss of life caused by COVID-19.

"Such agreements made between countries have legal standing and are binding.

"WHO has emphasized that a proposed pandemic convention would be driven by the need to ensure *equity of access* to tools that can stop pandemics in their tracks, including vaccines, personal protective equipment, information and expertise and access to healthcare for everyone."

HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data. Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT gmail.com