Geneva and New York City – Unitaid welcomes Canada’s contribution of Can$ 25 million to support the organization’s work to boost access to medical oxygen in low- and middle-income countries, to support the COVID-19 response and future health emergencies.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this new funding on the sidelines of the Global Fund Seventh Replenishment Pledging Session, during the UN General Assembly in New York.
Canada’s significant contribution aims to support the efforts of the Oxygen Emergency Taskforce to further increase access to liquid oxygen, lower costs of gas and equipment, strengthen infrastructure, expand technical capacity, and ensure safe use of medical oxygen in low- and middle-income countries. It will help expand sustainable access to adequate and affordable oxygen solutions, and support countries to develop strategic national oxygen roadmaps and prepare for future health threats.
With this additional funding, Canada has provided Can$ 60 million to Unitaid for equitable access to COVID-19 treatments, including oxygen, through the ACT-Accelerator.
Dr. Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid, said: “No one should die because of a lack of medical oxygen. I am very grateful to Canada for this important contribution to the work Unitaid is leading with partners to address global inequities in access to this essential medicine. The new funding will help save lives now and prepare the world for future health emergencies.”
Oxygen is an essential medicine used to treat many conditions affecting newborns, children, and adults. It is a vital treatment for severe COVID-19 with an estimated 75% of people hospitalized who can survive with oxygen therapy alone. Investing in oxygen now will save lives beyond the pandemic by strengthening health systems and significantly reducing deaths among newborns, children and women in childbirth. It will continue to be a core tool for future health emergencies.
Unitaid has been addressing access to medical oxygen since 2019 through a diverse portfolio of investments including piloting pulse oximetry and fever management at primary health care level to identify and refer critically ill children to hospitals, advancing improved non-invasive ventilation strategies for newborns and oxygen concentrator technologies.
Unitaid is chairing the Oxygen Emergency Taskforce established in February 2021 to drive the multilateral oxygen support effort and is co-leading the ACT-Accelerator’s Therapeutics pillar with the Global Fund and Wellcome.
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