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Open letter to the World Bank Pandemic Fund Governing Board 

Dear board members

As members and supporters of the Action for Animal Health coalition, we welcome the launch of the World Bank’s new Pandemic Fund during this year’s G20 Summit in Bali. As the world seeks to recover from the devastating impacts of Covid-19, world leaders have a real opportunity to learn from previous mistakes and shift to pandemic prevention to protect all. The World Bank’s fund could be the watershed moment we need.

The fund must look beyond surveillance and ensure that there is investment in the strengthening of all health systems. The World Bank’s own report, Putting Pandemics Behind Us, argues that prevention is better than cure, imploring leaders to take a One Health approach to address pandemic risk at the source.  

Chronic underinvestment in animal health systems leaves us at risk of future pandemics. It has led to critical shortages in animal health workforces, reduced access to medicines and vaccines, and poor animal welfare in parts of the world. For example, in Ghana there are around 950 animal health workers, despite demand requiring around 8500 (Veterinary Services Department, 2021). Such gaps in resources and knowledge leave animals and humans at risk, as the pace of outbreaks accelerates (World Bank 2022). 

Earlier this year, we were pleased to share our recommendations for the fund with the World Bank. Whilst we welcome moves from the fund to ensure representation of experts in One Health on the technical advisory board, our position remains clear; funds must be allocated to build strong animal health services. 

Humans, animals and the environment are all connected. The World Bank’s Pandemic Fund will only truly support preventing future pandemics if it invests in the strengthening of all health systems from the ground upwards. 

Signed by: 

Brooke Action for Working Horses and Donkeys
Centre for Supporting Evidence based Interventions-Livestock (SEBI-L)
Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC)
Preventing Pandemics at the Source secretariat
Soi Dog Foundation
Vétérinaires Sans Frontières International
World Animal Protection
World Federation for Animals

Read our recommendations here