Co-chairs of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates have stated that long-term investments in health and economies—like the ones that led to the rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccine, must be made by various governments to propel recovery efforts and get the world back on track to meet the development goals.
They noted that while 90 per cent of advanced economies will regain pre-pandemic per capita income levels by next year, only a third of low and middle-income economies are expected to do so.
According to them, an additional 31 million people were pushed into extreme poverty in 2020 as a result of Covid-19 compared to 2019.
In a fifth yearly goalkeepers’ report co-authored by the Gates, the co-chairs observed that “If we can expand on the best of what we have seen these past 18 months, we can finally put the pandemic behind us and once again accelerate progress in addressing fundamental issues like health, hunger, and climate change.”
The co-chairs said that the past year has reinforced their beliefs that progress is possible but not inevitable.
Bill Gates observed that the lack of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines is a public health tragedy.
“More than 80% of all COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in high- and upper-middle-income countries to date, with some securing two to three times the number needed so they can cover boosters; less than one per cent of doses have been administered in low-income countries. Lack of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines is a public health tragedy,” said Bill Gates. “
The report highlighted the disproportionate economic impact that the pandemic has had on women globally pointing out that in high- and low-income countries alike, women have been harder hit than men by the global recession that was triggered by the pandemic.
“Women face structural barriers in every corner of the world, leaving them more vulnerable to the impacts of the pandemic. By investing in women now and addressing these inequities, governments can spur a more equitable recovery while strengthening their economies against future crises.
It’s not just the right thing to do—but a smart policy that will benefit everyone,” says Melinda French Gates.
The report finds stark disparities in COVID-19 impacts, noting that the world stepped up to prevent worst-case scenarios from happening; spotlights need for long-term investments to ensure an equitable recovery and continued progress toward the Global Goals
It presented an updated global dataset illustrating the pandemic’s adverse impact on progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals) showing that the disparities caused by COVID-19 remain stark, and those who have been hardest hit by the pandemic will be the slowest to recover.