Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Global pandemic treaty to avert future mishap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: future preparedness for pandemics

pandemic treatyContext

  • The outline of an essential global pandemic treaty.

Purpose of the treaty

  • A pandemic treaty under the umbrella of the World Health Organization would build coherence and avoid fragmentation of response.

Severity of this pandemic demands such treaty

  • COVID-19 would count as being among some of the most severe pandemics the world has seen in the last 100 years. An estimated 18 million people may have died from COVID-19, according various credible estimates, a scale of loss not seen since the Second World War.
  • Further, with over 120 million people pushed into extreme poverty, and a massive global recession, no single government or institution has been able to address this emergency singlehandedly.
  • This has given us a larger perspective of how nobody is safe until everybody is safe.

Catchy line for value addition

Nobody is safe until everybody is safe

pandemic treatyThere is widespread inequity in healthcare

  • Gross inequity in distribution: Health-care systems have been stretched beyond their capacity and gross health inequity has been observed in the distribution of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics across the world.
  • Irreversible consequences: While high-income economies are still recovering from the aftereffects, the socioeconomic consequences of the novel coronavirus pandemic are irreversible in low and low middle-income countries.
  • The monopolies: Held by pharma majors such as Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna created at least nine new billionaires since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and made over $1,000 a second in profits, even as fewer of their vaccines reached people in low-income countries.
  • Skewed distribution: As of March 2022, only 3% of people in low-income countries had been vaccinated with at least one dose, compared to 60.18% in high-income countries. The international target to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population against COVID-19 by mid-2022 was missed because poorer countries were at the “back of the queue” when vaccines were rolled out.’s lead role

  • Dynamic response: India’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and reinstating global equity by leveraging its own potential has set an example to legislators worldwide.
  • Vaccine diplomacy: India produces nearly 60% of the world’s vaccines and is said to account for 60%-80% of the United Nations’ annual vaccine procurement “vaccine diplomacy” or “vaccine maitri” with a commitment against health inequity.
  • We lead by example: India was unfettered in its resolve to continue the shipment of vaccines and other diagnostics even when it was experiencing a vaccine shortage for domestic use. There was only a brief period of weeks during the peak of the second wave in India when the vaccine mission was halted.
  • A classic example of global cooperation: As of 2021, India shipped 594.35 lakh doses of ‘Made-in-India’ COVID-19 vaccines to 72 countries a classic example of global cooperation. Among these, 81.25 lakh doses were gifts, 339.67 lakh doses were commercially distributed and 173.43 lakh doses were delivered via the Covax programme under the aegis of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Why the treaty is needed for?

  • Data sharing: A treaty should cover crucial aspects such as data sharing and genome sequencing of emerging viruses.
  • Rapid response mechanism: It should formally commit governments and parliaments to implement an early warning system and a properly funded rapid response mechanism.
  • Health investments: Further, it should mobilise nation states to agree on a set of common metrics that are related to health investments and a return on those investments. These investments should aim to reduce the public-private sector gap.


  • A global pandemic treaty will not only reduce socioeconomic inequalities across nation states but also enhance a global pandemic preparedness for future health emergencies. India must take the lead in this.

Mains question

Q. Nobody is safe until everybody is safe. What do you understand by this? Why there is need of global pandemic treaty?.


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