Bloomberg Philanthropies is to roll out a US$40 million programme to tackle novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries.
The Bloomberg Philanthropies Coronavirus Global Response Initiative aims to provide support to low- and middle-income countries, with an emphasis on Africa, to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. The Initiative will look at both preventing cases and slowing the spread of the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) moved last week to characterise the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic, after the number of countries affected tripled in the preceding fortnight. India is among the countries affected by the pandemic, reporting well in excess of 100 cases of the virus in addition to confirming its first few fatalities due to the disease in recent days.
For the purposes of the Initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies is to partner with the WHO and the global health organisation Vital Strategies through its initiative Resolve to Save Lives, headed by chief executive officer Dr Tom Frieden. In addition to the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Response Initiative, the organisation has launched a Coronavirus Local Response Initiative which will aim to help city leaders in America address the outbreak.
Bloomberg Philanthropies was founded by businessman Michael Bloomberg, who is the ninth-richest man in the world. Bloomberg, who also served as the Mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013 and was a candidate for President of the United States earlier this year, addressed the pandemic in a statement, commenting “millions of lives depend on getting the coronavirus response right – and so does the economic and social health of communities around the world. We need to slow transmission of the virus and minimise the impact of the outbreak in all countries.”
Drawing on his experience in public service, Bloomberg added “I know from my experience as mayor of New York City that giving public health professionals the tools to protect the public is vital to saving lives – and to help mitigate the kind of economic and social damage that could make this crisis even more debilitating for families and communities.”
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the announcement, stating “An unprecedented global health crisis demands unprecedented global solidarity. I appreciate this support from Bloomberg Philanthropies to WHO and the global response effort, which will help to prevent infections and save lives.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies is not alone in intervening in the fight against COVID-19, with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also announcing initiatives to combat the pandemic. Earlier this year, the Foundation invested US$100 million in the fight against coronavirus and is rolling out a number of other initiatives in combating the virus.