GENEVA / COVID-19 OXYGEN SUPPLY

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23-Feb-2021 00:02:11
With more than half a million COVID-19 patients in low- and middle-income countries estimated to require oxygen treatment every day, an emergency taskforce was launched today in Geneva to secure oxygen supplies and technical support for the worst-affected countries. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / COVID-19 OXYGEN SUPPLY
TRT: 2:11
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 23 FEBRUARY 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1 Exterior wide shot, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, press briefing room
3. Med shot, press briefing room
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Herve Verhoosel, Spokesperson of UNITAID:
“Today UNITAID and Wellcome on behalf of the Access to COVID Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) in partnership with a WHO-led consortium of partners is announcing the launch of a COVID-19 Oxygen Emergency Taskforce that will build on the work already done by partners since the beginning of the pandemic. This is a global emergency that needs a truly global response from international organisations and donors”.
5. Close up, Camera view finder with Herve Verhoosel
SOUNDBITE (English) - Herve Verhoosel, Spokesperson of UNITAID:
“Since the start of the pandemic, affordable and sustainable access to oxygen has been a growing challenge in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC’s) where COVID-19 has put huge pressure on health systems, with some hospitals running out of oxygen resulting in preventable deaths”.
6. Med shot, podium with spokespeople
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Herve Verhoosel, Spokesperson of UNITAID:
“It is estimated that more than half a million people around the world but more specifically in low- and middle-income countries currently need more than 1.1 million cylinders of oxygen per day. That’s more than 8 million cubic meters a day in low- and middle-income countries only”.
8. Med shot, podium with spokespeople
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Herve Verhoosel, Spokesperson of UNITAID:
“The first $20 million will be put forward by UNITAID and Wellcome. The urgent, short-term requirements of additional countries will be measured and costed in the coming weeks, with the overall funding need over the next 12 months is estimated by ACT-A to US$1.6 billion - a figure that will be regularly reviewed by the taskforce”.
10. Various shots, presser

STORYLINE:

With more than half a million COVID-19 patients in low- and middle-income countries estimated to require oxygen treatment every day, an emergency taskforce was launched today (23 Feb) in Geneva to secure oxygen supplies and technical support for the worst-affected countries.

The initiative is led by the global health agency UNITAID , the health research foundation Wellcome and consortium of partners led by the World Health Organization (WHO), including key organisations that have been working to improve access to oxygen since the start of COVID-19 pandemic such as the WHO, UNICEF, the Global Fund, World Bank, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and the international non-profit global health organization PATH.

The taskforce partners will measure oxygen demand in these worst-affected countries, work to drum up financing and to secure oxygen supplies and technical support.

“Today UNITAID and Wellcome, on behalf of the Access to COVID Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), in partnership with a WHO-led consortium of partners, is announcing the launch of a COVID-19 Oxygen Emergency Taskforce that will build on the work already done by partners since the beginning of the pandemic” said Hervé Verhoosel, a spokesperson for UNITAID. “This is a global emergency that needs a truly global response from international organisations and donors.”

The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator (known more simply as the “ACT Accelerator” or “ACT -A”) is a new global collaboration to speed up the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March 2020, and launched by WHO, the European Commission, France and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation a month later.

The taskforce has determined an immediate funding need of USD 90 million to address key challenges in oxygen access in up to 20 countries, including Malawi, Nigeria and Afghanistan. This first set of countries has been identified based on assessments coordinated by WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme.

“Since the start of the pandemic, affordable and sustainable access to oxygen has been a growing challenge in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where COVID-19 has put huge pressure on health systems, with some hospitals running out of oxygen resulting in preventable deaths,” Verhoosel said.

Despite oxygen being vital for the effective treatment of hospitalised COVID-19 patients, access in LMICs is limited due to cost, infrastructure and logistical barriers. Health facilities often cannot access the oxygen they require, which results in the unnecessary loss of lives.

“It is estimated that more than half a million people around the world but more specifically in low- and middle-income countries currently need more than 1.1 million cylinders of oxygen per day. That’s more than 8 million cubic meters a day in low- and middle-income countries only,” Verhoosel said.

“The first USD 20 million will be put forward by UNITAID and Wellcome,” Verhoosel said, indicating that a much larger amount is in fact needed. “The urgent, short-term requirements of additional countries will be measured and costed in the coming weeks, with the overall funding need over the next 12 months is estimated by ACT-A to 1.6 billion US dollars - a figure that will be regularly reviewed by the taskforce,” he explained.
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