HomeHealthEmbrace health innovation, technology transfer, WHO Council urges global leaders

Embrace health innovation, technology transfer, WHO Council urges global leaders

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Lara Adejoro

The World Health Organisation Council on the Economics of Health for All has urged global leaders in healthcare to embrace health innovation and technology transfer to improve healthcare delivery across the world.

The Council which comprises leading economists and health experts across the globe stressed that governments, the scientific and medical community and the private sector leaders should redesign the health innovation ecosystem to deliver health technologies for the common good.

The Council also urged public and private sector leaders to work collaboratively to deliver needed vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other essential health supplies that are available equitably to those who can benefit.

In a statement made available to PUNCH HealthWise, the Council recommends both immediate and long-term action, urging all stakeholders to work towards creating a health innovation ecosystem characterised by purpose-driven and symbiotic public-private partnerships that put the common good front and center.

“Mobilising money to throw at solutions that fail to address the underlying causes of longstanding structural problems will not be sufficient,” according to the Council Brief. 

“We all must look forward towards re-imagining health innovation as part of a new economic ecosystem that can deliver Health for All.”

Also, the Council has made clear that just patching up the existing system will not work. 

“Deep change is needed on how intellectual property rights are governed to drive collective intelligence, how corporate governance is structured, and how the benefits of public investments are shared to avoid the current dynamic of sharing risks but privatising rewards,” it said.

The Council, in its brief, adds that available vaccine doses should be redistributed immediately, not as acts of charity, but as a shared imperative for pandemic control and inclusive, equitable and sustainable access.

It also said “Technology transfer and building manufacturing capacity must be supported and financed, not as the responsibility or property of any single actor, but as a collective responsibility towards building greater health security and resilience in all regions.

“Knowledge should not be kept as privatised intellectual property under monopoly control but considered collective rewards from a collective value creation process to be openly shared and exchanged.

“Existing mechanisms set up to address the above aspects, including COVAX, ACT-Accelerator, and the COVID Technology Access Pool, should be utilised and strengthened, not as an approach to fix market failures, but as turning points for creating market-shaping approaches.”

The Council’s brief came ahead of the G7 Leaders’ Summit under the U.K.’s Presidency, which aims to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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