Coca-Cola, others urge US Congress to sustain healthcare funding for Africa

The Coca-Cola Company and fourteen other global corporations have urged the United States Congressional leaders to continue to provide healthcare funding support to sub-Saharan African countries as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unravel healthcare systems and economies across the world.

The companies stated that the funding will help to ensure that the pandemic and its consequences do not result in an increase in deaths from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, which are among the top 5 killer diseases on the continent.

The companies, acting on the platform of the Friends of the Global Fund, stated this in a joint letter to the US Senate Majority Leader, Honorable Mitch McConnell; House Speaker, Honorable Nancy Pelosi; and the Senate and the House Minority Leaders, advocating for the COVID-19 supplemental funding legislation to include increased investments to support sub-Saharan healthcare systems and workers.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, COVID-19 threatens fragile health systems and the virus has the potential to infect nearly a quarter of a billion people over the next year.

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“COVID-19 also risks undermining decades of progress against epidemics that kill millions of people every year: AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria”, the companies noted in the letter which was signed by The Coca-Cola Company’s CEO, James Quincey, along with the CEOs of Abbott, Cepheid, Johnson & Johnson, Mylan, Sanofi, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Vestergaard, Zenysis, Aegon-Transamerica, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Novartis, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, UPS and ViiV Healthcare.

Commenting on the appeal to the US Congress, President for Coca-Cola Africa and the Middle East, Bruno Pietracci said COVID-19 has underscored the importance of multi-stakeholder interventions such as Project Last Mile in enabling countries to cope with the unimagined pressure on healthcare systems through improved logistics, communication effectiveness and access to hard-to-reach people at the last mile.

“It is crucial that the global community stands up to the responsibility to enable quick recovery and resilience-building for developing regions such as Africa.

“That is the only way we can all emerge stronger together from the unprecedented impact of this pandemic,” The President said.

Bruno noted that the Global Fund, launched in 2002, is a partnership designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics.

He added that as an international organization, the Global Fund mobilizes and invests more than $4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in more than 100 countries, working in partnership with governments, civil society, technical agencies, the private sector and people affected by these diseases.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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