PM Sheikh Hasina for developing global cooperation framework to prevent pandemic

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Published on September 21, 2023
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday called for developing an international cooperation framework as part of the prevention of pandemics, placing five proposals to be addressed by the global community.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has been a turning point for us all. We lost many around the world. We realized that nature has its own limits for human intervention. We also experienced unprecedented global solidarity. We admitted that none of us is secure until everyone is," she said.

She said this while addressing the 78thUNGA High-Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPPR) at the Conference Room of the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

"We must draw on our collective lessons to scale up good practices and avoid past mistakes. Equity and solidarity must form the core of our efforts," she said.

The Prime Minister put forth five priorities to prevent the pandemics.

The three priorities among the five are - concessional international financing for health system strengthening in developing countries, mobilizing resources and expertise for pandemic surveillance, prevention, preparedness and response in a science-based manner; ensuring equitable and unrestricted access for all to quality, affordable, and effective pandemic products, including vaccines.

The remaining two priorities are production diversification of pandemic products through access to technology and know-how; and developing an international cooperation framework for access and benefit sharing among concerned parties, with WHO in the lead.

"To that end, we hope to see fair and concrete outcomes from a pandemic treaty and amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005) Bangladesh will remain constructively engaged with both processes," Sheikh Hasina said.

Thematic Ambassador of Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) Saima Wazed was present at the meeting.

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh was no exception to the COVID-19 impacts.

"Yet, we ranked fifth globally in COVID-19 recovery by one index. From the start, we had to strike a balance between saving lives and protecting livelihoods," she said.

The premier said they adopted a National Preparedness and Response Plan with the support of WHO.

"We ensured the free provision of medicines and PPE for those in need. The number of ICU beds was more than doubled. From zero facilities, testing laboratories were set up in 885 centres. Oxygen supplies were secured in almost all hospitals," she added.

Around 11,000 doctors and 13,000 medical support staff were recruited within months, she said, adding: "With a fatality rate of 1.46% our frontline workers did wonders."

"A dedicated digital app was launched to administer vaccines entirely free of charge. We reached vaccine coverage of 93% with at least a second dose. I called for pandemic vaccines to be considered global public goods," she said.

The Prime Minister said their government rolled out a stimulus package worth 26.9 billion US dollars.

"We provided direct food assistance to more than 40 million low-income people. Bangladesh extended support to other friendly countries as well as to our migrant workers abroad," she added.