Geneva, 18 June 2021 – The Executive Board recognized Unitaid’s leadership and agility in responding to COVID-19 and discussed new challenges and opportunities facing the organization during its 38th meeting, held virtually from 16th to 18th June.
Unitaid’s board reaffirmed its commitment to its core work and explored lessons learned from the pandemic response and ways its innovative model and expertise could lend itself to additional contexts.
As Unitaid continues its strategy development process for 2022-2026, key among the considerations discussed was how to define ambitions and priorities in a way that allows enough flexibility to ensure success in an increasingly challenging global health environment.
Potential developments with regards to the board’s membership were also presented, with next steps defined for further work on Board evolution opportunities. The Board also reinforced its independent Proposal Review Committee by approving additional experts in Intellectual Property and Community Demand Generation.
Finally, the organization reported that 80% of its projects are back on track after experiencing temporary delays related to the pandemic, and noted that community-based public health strategies had emerged as particularly successful in maintaining services compared to more centralized delivery methods.
Unitaid’s Executive Board Chair Marisol Touraine said: “I am delighted by the dynamic and fruitful discussions of this board meeting which have set important milestones in the way forward for Unitaid. We are now engaging into the next phase of the development of our strategy with clear lessons learned from the past. We are sharpening our focus to priorities and ability to react flexibly to an increasingly unpredictable context. This Executive Board meeting was also important in that it reiterated our commitment to Unitaid’s core activities, impacted by COVID-19, as well as our particular attention to our positioning and work in the global response to the pandemic. The pandemic proves that equitable access is more than ever a paramount priority and that Unitaid is committed to responding with concrete actions.”
Philippe Duneton, Unitaid’s Executive Director, said: “I’m pleased to see the shape our next strategy is taking and appreciate the ideas discussed and developed this week. Our work on the three diseases is far from finished and we remain committed to reducing the burden of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria worldwide. We must also consider how our innovative model and proven expertise can have broader impacts on access to health to support progress in our core areas and in the COVID-19 response under the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.”
Unitaid is a global health agency engaged in finding innovative solutions to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases more quickly, cheaply, and effectively, in low- and middle-income countries. Its work includes funding initiatives to address major diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, as well as HIV co-infections and co-morbidities such as cervical cancer and hepatitis C, and cross-cutting areas, such as fever management. Unitaid is now applying its expertise to address challenges in advancing new therapies and diagnostics for the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a key member of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. Unitaid is hosted by the World Health Organization.
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