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BMJ Glob Health ; 6(11)2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1529878
Glob Public Health ; : 1-17, 2021 Oct 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1479313


COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), has been promoted as 'the only global solution' to vaccine equity and ending the Covid-19 pandemic. ACT-A and COVAX build on the public-private partnership (PPP) model that dominates global health governance, but take it to a new level, constituting an experimental form that we call the 'super-PPP'. Based on an analysis of COVAX's governance structure and its difficulties in achieving its aims, we identify several features of the super-PPP model. First, it aims to coordinate the fragmented global health field by bringing together existing PPPs in an extraordinarily complex Russian Matryoshka doll-like structure. Second, it attempts to scale up a governance model designed for donor-dependent countries to tackle a health crisis affecting the entire world, pitting it against the self-interest of its wealthiest government partners. Third, the super-PPP's structural complexity obscures the vast differences between constituent partners, giving pharmaceutical corporations substantial power and making public representation, transparency, and accountability elusive. As a super-PPP, COVAX reproduces and amplifies challenges associated with the established PPPs it incorporates. COVAX's limited success has sparked a crisis of legitimacy for the voluntary, charity-based partnership model in global health, raising questions about its future.

Global Health ; 17(1): 112, 2021 09 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430461


BACKGROUND: During the first year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic, COVAX has been the world's most prominent effort to ensure equitable access to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Launched as part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (Act-A) in June 2020, COVAX suggested to serve as a vaccine buyers' and distribution club for countries around the world. It also aimed to support the pharmaceutical industry in speeding up and broadening vaccine development. While COVAX has recently come under critique for failing to bring about global vaccine equity, influential politicians and public health advocates insist that future iterations of it will improve pandemic preparedness. So far COVAX's role in the ongoing financialization of global health, i.e. in the rise of financial concepts, motives, practices and institutions has not been analyzed. METHODS: This article describes and critically assesses COVAX's financial logics, i.e. the concepts, arguments and financing flows on which COVAX relies. It is based on a review of over 109 COVAX related reports, ten in-depth interviews with global health experts working either in or with COVAX, as well as participant observation in 18 webinars and online meetings concerned with global pandemic financing, between September 2020 and August 2021. RESULTS: The article finds that COVAX expands the scale and scope of financial instruments in global health governance, and that this is done by conflating different understandings of risk. Specifically, COVAX conflates public health risk and corporate financial risk, leading it to privilege concerns of pharmaceutical companies over those of most participating countries - especially low and lower-middle income countries (LICs and LMICs). COVAX thus drives the financialization of global health and ends up constituting a risk itself - that of perpetuating the downsides of financialization (e.g. heightened inequality, secrecy, complexity in governance, an ineffective and slow use of aid), whilst insufficiently realising its potential benefits (pandemic risk reduction, increased public access to emergency funding, indirect price control over essential goods and services). CONCLUSION: Future iterations of vaccine buyers' and distribution clubs as well as public vaccine development efforts should work towards reducing all aspects of public health risk rather than privileging its corporate financial aspects. This will include reassessing the interplay of aid and corporate subsidies in global health.

COVID-19 Vaccines/supply & distribution , COVID-19/prevention & control , Global Health/economics , Health Equity/economics , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Risk
Global Health ; 17(1): 110, 2021 09 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430459


BACKGROUND: In the nearly half century since it began lending for population projects, the World Bank has become one of the largest financiers of global health projects and programs, a powerful voice in shaping health agendas in global governance spaces, and a mass producer of evidentiary knowledge for its preferred global health interventions. How can social scientists interrogate the role of the World Bank in shaping 'global health' in the current era? MAIN BODY: As a group of historians, social scientists, and public health officials with experience studying the effects of the institution's investment in health, we identify three challenges to this research. First, a future research agenda requires recognizing that the Bank is not a monolith, but rather has distinct inter-organizational groups that have shaped investment and discourse in complicated, and sometimes contradictory, ways. Second, we must consider how its influence on health policy and investment has changed significantly over time. Third, we must analyze its modes of engagement with other institutions within the global health landscape, and with the private sector. The unique relationships between Bank entities and countries that shape health policy, and the Bank's position as a center of research, permit it to have a formative influence on health economics as applied to international development. Addressing these challenges, we propose a future research agenda for the Bank's influence on global health through three overlapping objects of and domains for study: knowledge-based (shaping health policy knowledge), governance-based (shaping health governance), and finance-based (shaping health financing). We provide a review of case studies in each of these categories to inform this research agenda. CONCLUSIONS: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, and as state and non-state actors work to build more inclusive and robust health systems around the world, it is more important than ever to consider how to best document and analyze the impacts of Bank's financial and technical investments in the Global South.

Banking, Personal/organization & administration , Healthcare Financing , /methods , Banking, Personal/trends , Financial Management , Global Health , Health Policy , Humans , /organization & administration