Covid GAP Seeks Collaborations Around the World
Washington, DC—Nearly two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, the global response continues to be slow, fragmented, and inequitable. The widening gap between vaccine haves and have-nots around the world has prolonged the pandemic, worsened global inequality, risked the emergence of new viral variants that could evade vaccine immunity, and confronted countries with very different prospects for pandemic and economic recovery. In response, Duke University and the Covid Collaborative are launching the Covid Global Accountability Platform (Covid GAP), an independent initiative that aims to provide evidence-based tracking, insights, and recommendations that collectively help hold the world to account to meet pressing needs, deliver on commitments, and accelerate the end of the pandemic.
At the Global Covid-19 Summit convened by President Biden on September 22, 2021, leaders aligned around the target of achieving 70 percent vaccination coverage in all countries by mid-2022. Global leaders also have committed to take steps to save lives now by providing oxygen, diagnostics, therapies, and other critical resources; and to build back better through stronger and better coordinated future pandemic preparedness. Several countries, international organizations, philanthropies, and corporations offered significant pledges and commitments, particularly to contribute vaccines and funding. But the pledges largely have yet to be fulfilled, and the path from commitments to ending the pandemic worldwide is far from clear.
“Covid GAP will serve as an independent accountability engine driving evidence-based policy recommendations, engagement with decision makers, and advocacy,” said Gary Edson, president of the Covid Collaborative. “This effort reflects joint leadership by the Covid Collaborative and experts across Duke to bring global stakeholders together to develop a stronger Covid-19 response, helping to translate commitments and targets into life-saving action.”
To achieve its goal, Covid GAP is collaborating with The Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and multiple stakeholders and data sources to:
- build strong partnerships and collaborations with organizations and individuals in low- and middle-income countries and empower local leaders through evidence-driven insights to prioritize and access urgently needed resources;
- analyze vaccine production, contracting and delivery, as well as dose donations and countries’ vaccination capabilities and demand, along with actual vaccinations, and link these analyses to actionable recommendations to accelerate progress;
- identify and address the need for other critical interventions, including testing, therapies, oxygen, and personal protective equipment (PPE); and
- track commitments and targets for future pandemic preparedness.
Across these efforts, Covid GAP will identify critical needs for additional data transparency from the public and private sectors, including high-income countries and manufacturers, and will seek to unlock additional data to enable stronger, more coordinated, and more equitable global response and decision-making.
“While vaccine production is growing, vaccinations in the countries most in need remain far behind,” said Mark McClellan, director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. “From cold storage to staffing, the infrastructure capability of low- and middle-income countries to get vaccines from airports into arms soon will be critical to success. Without greater clarity and transparency about countries’ needs, as well as focused, urgent, and coordinated support to address them, the growing supply of vaccines won’t translate into higher vaccination rates.”
“In jointly spearheading Covid GAP, our Duke University global health and health policy experts and the Covid Collaborative are working to engage countries and multilateral and regional stakeholders from around the world in the development of this global resource,” said Michael Merson, professor of global health and former founding director of the Duke Global Health Institute. This outreach will feature multiple convenings, including an upcoming workshop bringing together key global, regional, and national stakeholders to identify countries’ needs and priorities to respond to the pandemic, prioritize metrics for accountability, and ensure that this resource advances coordinated, effective action.
As part of this effort, Covid GAP leaders will continue to engage with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Multilateral Leaders Task Force (WHO, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization), and others to strengthen transparency and accountability to commitments made and actions taken by countries, international organizations, philanthropies, and private companies. Covid GAP also will continue to engage with the Pandemic Action Network, ONE, US Global Leadership Coalition, and other leading networks and advocacy organizations to ensure that its evidence-driven analyses and recommendations are translated effectively to inform decisions and actions.
“With 8,000 deaths each day from Covid-19, there is no time to waste. The coming weeks represent critical opportunities for decisive, global action to change the trajectory of the pandemic,” said Krishna Udayakumar, director of the Duke Global Health Innovation Center. “Covid GAP will leverage these action-forcing events to help hold the world to account, highlighting the swiftest path to ending the pandemic—everywhere.”
The Covid Collaborative is a national, bipartisan assembly of experts, leaders and institutions in health, education, and the economy united to turn the tide on the pandemic. Covid Collaborative includes expertise from across Republican and Democratic administrations at the federal, state and local levels, including former FDA commissioners, CDC directors, and U.S. surgeon generals; former U.S. secretaries of Education, Homeland Security, Defense, and Health and Human Services; leading public health experts and institutions that span the country; leading business groups and CEOs; groups representing historically underserved populations; major global philanthropies; and associations representing those on the frontlines of public health and education.
The Duke Global Health Innovation Center supports the scaling of health care delivery and policy innovations through applied research and education to improve health worldwide. Duke GHIC links global health, health policy, and health innovation efforts across Duke University, and partners with Innovations in Healthcare, a Duke-hosted non-profit that aims to increase access to quality, affordable health care worldwide by scaling leading innovations.
Formed in 2006 as part of Duke University’s commitment to spark innovation in global health research and education, the Duke Global Health Institute brings together knowledge and resources from across the university to address the most important global health issues of our time.
The mission of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University is to improve health, health equity, and the value of health care through practical, innovative, and evidence-based policy solutions. For more information, visit healthpolicy.duke.edu and follow us on Twitter @DukeMargolis.