On 16 December 2021 the Government of Belgium and WHO signed a new €8 million multiyear contribution agreement for the period 2021-2025, to support increasing global equitable access to health products and health technologies globally. This contribution will focus on equitable access for health products related to the current pandemic, and health products related to other communicable and non-communicable diseases. Through this support, the Belgium government will facilitate technology transfer through the mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub and work on increasing regulatory capacity and fair pricing.
”WHO is very grateful to the Government of Belgium for their continued commitment to ensuring universal health coverage,” said Ms Leen Meulenbergs, Director of WHO’s Department of Strategic Engagement. ”Throughout its partnership with WHO and the programmes it supports, Belgium has taken a leading role in supporting technology transfer and in improve regulatory capacity which are essential to achieve equitable access to health care for all.”
Belgium is already a co-sponsor of the Solidarity Call to Action. Its support for the COVID Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) and the mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub comes at a critical juncture. Engaging support for innovative approaches to increasing access to health products is challenging given the complexity of the global health landscape. By leading the way in developing new ways to deliver health equity, Belgium is encouraging other partners to follow, and charting a new path in global health leadership.
Belgium is the first member state to provide a first significant contribution to C-TAP.
Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Policy, Meryame Kitir
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The COVID Technology Access Pool (C-TAP)
Launched in May 2020, C-TAP is a WHO-led, innovative, more comprehensive and more recent approach to scaling up production of health products for tackling COVID-19. Built on the principle of sharing, C-TAP offers technology holders a technology pool platform (overseen by WHO) to voluntarily make available their IP, know-how and data which qualified manufacturers everywhere can access and use to produce COVID-19 health technologies.
mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub
Under the umbrella of ACT-A and the COVAX manufacturing task-force, which also addresses upstream supply issues and the establishment of fill‒finish partnerships (workstreams 1 and 2 of the COVAX manufacturing working group (WG)), WHO is establishing technology transfer hubs to expand LMIC capacity to produce COVID-19 and future pandemic-response vaccines (workstream 3 of the COVAX manufacturing WG). The hubs will serve as training centres where the full manufacturing process is established and from there transferred to manufacturers in LMIC. The public health value of a hub will extend beyond the individual countries where a hub and manufacturers are located, to all countries within that region, since it is intended that supply within a region as a whole is strengthened through creation of local and sustainable sources of supply.