Commitments made at Friday’s virtual G7 meeting signify a positive step toward more equitable access to vaccines, testing and treatment for COVID-19. Funding for the Covax initiative has been increased to £5.3 billion and UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, pledged to donate the UK’s surplus vaccine supply to poorer countries.

International Health Partners (IHP) supports the move but says that more is needed to tackle inequities in healthcare beyond COVID-19. 

“We are in support of any improvement in access to medicine for vulnerable communities around the world and it is encouraging to see so many world leaders pledging support to make the COVID-19 vaccination process more equitable. This must also remain a priority beyond the pandemic as the world wakes up to the disparities in healthcare between rich, and low and middle income countries,” says Adele Paterson, CEO of International Health Partners.

The debate around vaccination distribution has thrown the wider inequalities in healthcare into stark reality; even before the pandemic, an estimated two billion people around the world lacked reliable access to what the WHO refers to as ‘essential medicines.’

This is something which must not be overlooked by world leaders once COVID-19 has been brought under control. “Greater cooperation to strengthen global healthcare systems is vital at this crucial juncture. Never has the importance of universal access been clearer,” says Adele Paterson.