On Saturday, the World Bank Group officially launched its much anticipated Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility — a financing mechanism designed to quickly mobilize funds to tackle global disease outbreaks and create a new insurance market for pandemic risk. Questions linger about how effective the new mechanism will be, how much money it can leverage, and whether it can stand the test of time against pandemics that are growing more frequent and more costly.
The international community struggled to effectively mobilize funds to bring an end to the Ebola virus outbreak that ravaged West Africa in 2014, killing thousands. The latest global health emergency to grip the world’s attention — the Zika virus — is highlighting again just how ill-prepared the international community is to fund cross-border outbreak response. Three months after the U.S. White House requested $1.9 billion for Zika, the U.S. Congress is still arguing over the sum.
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