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Disappointment and Hope after U.N. General Assembly Wraps, says AHF

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~ The 78th U.N. General Assembly concluded in New York City this week with the adoption of declarations on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPPR), tuberculosis (TB), and universal health coverage (UHC). An AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) delegation attended all three U.N. panel sessions and expressed their views on the declarations.

The TB declaration includes strong language on ending TB by 2030, however, AHF believes that global leaders must ensure it translates to action to protect people from a disease that's preventable, treatable, and curable. Guillermina Alaniz, Director of Global Advocacy and Policy at AHF said: "The U.N. declaration on tuberculosis is promising as it outlines commitments that the TB community has advocated for, including committing $5 billion annually to the TB response, universal access to TB treatment and services, incorporating civil society in TB strategies, and integrating TB services with primary and HIV healthcare settings."

Regarding the PPPR declaration, AHF Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy Terri Ford said: "The U.N.'s pandemic declaration does not do nearly enough to create a more transparent, accountable, and cooperative pandemic agreement that can protect all countries from future outbreaks." Ford added: "Asking for countries to 'mobilize domestic public resources as the main source of financing' for PPPR is unacceptable – the Pandemic Fund was established for a reason, and we urge wealthy nations to ensure it has the $10 billion it needs immediately."

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AHF believes everyone globally should have access to adequate and affordable healthcare; however, UHC must not come at the cost of other programs and responses struggling to survive amid resource scarcity. Denys Nazarov, Director of Global Policy and Communications at AHF said: "While universal health coverage is an admirable goal to strive for, existing responses must be fully funded before global efforts shift to it – namely The Global Fund, The Pandemic Fund, and the global TB response." Nazarov added: "We cannot allow the Global North to define UHC for the Global South; stakeholders and implementers must be involved at all levels of planning and implementation."

AHF expressed their disappointment that world leaders did not make concrete commitments on PPPR but had tempered optimism that the ambitious commitments outlined in the tuberculosis declaration would be met after falling short on the 2018 TB declaration. They urged decisionmakers to make stronger commitments on equity for vaccines and medical commodities as well as local vaccine production in Global South regions and countries while also calling for a minimum standard for pandemic preparedness capacity which wealthy countries should help lower-income countries meet financially.
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