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UN chief calls for strengthening global health security, preparedness

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-09-23 09:49
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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City, on Sept 21, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

UNITED NATIONS - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for efforts to strengthen the global health security and preparedness in order to be better prepared for the next pandemic.

"Global health security and preparedness must be strengthened through sustained political commitment and leadership at the highest level. Low- and middle-income countries must be able to develop and access health technologies," the top UN official told the US-hosted virtual global COVID-19 Summit.

The secretary-general said that the world cannot manage the next pandemic "with tools tailored to the past. The recommendations of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response must be a starting point for urgent reforms to strengthen the global health architecture".

"The World Health Organization (WHO) must be empowered, its authority enhanced and better funded so that it can play a leading role in coordinating emergency response," said the secretary-general.

On global vaccination, Guterres said that it is not philanthropy, but "self-interest".

He repeated his call for a global vaccination plan to at least double vaccine production and ensure 2.3 billion doses are equitably distributed through COVAX to reach 40 percent of people in all countries by the end of this year and 70 percent in the first half of 2022, as WHO recommends.

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