Push for world health agency

THE country will push for the creation of a new global health agency while the country holds the presidency of the G20, President Joko Widodo said at the virtual Davos forum.

Widodo said the agency would strengthen the world’s “health resilience” and help make the global health system more inclusive and more responsive to crises.

“The Indonesian presidency will fight to strengthen the world’s health resilience architecture, which will be run by a global agency,” he said in a speech to the World Economic Forum’s online meeting.

“(Its) task is to mobilise world health resources, including for financing health emergencies, purchasing vaccines, medicines and medical devices.”

The Indonesian leader said the World Health Organisation had showed limited capacity to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many current global health collaborations including on vaccines were only temporary programmes, he added.

“The WHO’s role has yet to cover many strategic aspects for the world,” Widodo said.

Comparing the new agency to the International Monetary Fund, the president said it would help formulate standardised protocols for activities such as cross-border travel and would work on boosting manufacturing capacity for medicines and medical equipment.

He called on the world’s major economies to co-finance the initiative and reach an agreement during Indonesia’s presidency of the G20 this year.

“The costs are clearly much smaller than the world’s losses due to the fragility of the global health system,” Widodo said.

Indonesia holds the G20 presidency for the first time this year and has specified recovery from the pandemic as its core objective.

Its official G20 presidency slogan is “Recover Together, Recover Stronger” and its focus will be on global health architecture, the transition to sustainable energy, and digital transformation, the president said.

The South-East Asian country was severely impacted by the pandemic last year, with hospitals running out of beds and oxygen during the peak of its outbreak in July.

Indonesia has reported more than 144,000 deaths from Covid-19.

It has struggled to procure enough vaccines for its population, with just 45% of its 270 million people currently fully vaccinated. — AFP

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