Jun. 27, 2020

WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the ACT Accelerator launch - 26 June 2020

26 June 2020
Good morning, good afternoon and good evening.

Yesterday, we celebrated the end of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Many of the same public health measures that have been successful in stopping Ebola – like case-finding, isolation, testing, contact tracing and respectful care – are the same measures that countries are now deploying against COVID-19.

But we have also had a tool in the fight against Ebola that we do not yet have for COVID-19: an effective vaccine.

Without it, there is no doubt we would have had more cases, and more deaths.

It’s clear that to bring COVID-19 under control, and to save lives, we need effective vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics – in unprecedented quantities and at unprecedented speed.

And it’s clear that because all people are at risk of COVID-19, all people should have access to all the tools to prevent, detect and treat it – not only those who can afford to pay for them.

Two months ago, I joined President Emmanuel Macron, President Ursula von der Leyen and Melinda Gates to launch the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator - a global initiative between multiple partners to ensure equitable access to life-saving tools for COVID-19.

Ahead of a major pledging event tomorrow led by the European Commission and Global Citizen in support of the ACT Accelerator, I’m delighted to be here today to announce further details about how the ACT Accelerator is working, and how we are ensuring that together, we live up to the commitments we have made.

The principle of equitable access is a simple thing to say, but a complicated thing to implement – it requires active collaboration between governments, industry, health organizations, civil society organizations, and communities.

Vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics are vital tools – but to be truly effective they must be administered with another essential ingredient, which is solidarity.

I thank you.