The United Nations Technology Bank, together with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Health Organization (WHO), launched the Tech Access Partnership (TAP) as part of a coordinated approach to strengthen developing countries’ responses to COVID-19 and increase access to lifesaving health technologies.
As demand for personal protective equipment, medical devices and diagnostics increases exponentially amid the global pandemic, countries with limited resources are often unable to purchase or produce the tools they need to mount effective responses to COVID-19.
Lack of access to technical expertise, training and regulatory frameworks also limit local production of essential equipment in these regions, particularly for more complex products like ventilators.
TAP aims to address critical shortages of essential health technologies and equipment by connecting manufacturers with critical expertise and emerging manufacturers in developing countries to share the information, technical expertise and resources necessary to scale up production of these tools. The Partnership will also support countries to develop affordable technologies and equipment that meet quality and safety standards.
“Now, more than ever, the global community needs to unite to save lives and secure sustainable futures. Inequalities are exacerbating the technology and digital divide when it comes to opportunities for youth, creating a divide that threatens to leave them behind,” says Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN.
“Increasing access to necessary technologies through partnerships, is a crucial component of the United Nations’ COVID-19 health, humanitarian and socio-economic response.”
“COVID-19 has shown us that a disease outbreak anywhere is a threat everywhere. We must stand together to support all countries and ensure equitable access to lifesaving technologies,” says Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO. “Scaling up access to medicines and health technologies in these countries is essential to slow new infections and avoid unnecessary deaths.”
As an initial pilot, TAP will begin working with manufacturers in several developing countries around the world.