DAI’s Nitish Debnath Named to Governance Role on New Global Pandemic Preparedness Fund

September 21, 2022

DAI Bangladesh Team Lead Nitish Debnath has been appointed to the governing body of the World Bank’s new Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response.

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An international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FIF aims to improve transparency, collaboration, and response mechanisms to address global health security threats. Financed by the G20 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank, it will aid low- and middle-income countries to prepare for and prevent future pandemics.

Professor Debnath joins the 21-member governing body as a civil society representative alongside members from donor countries and philanthropic institutions. “I hope FIF brings the global community together to improve health security and reduce future pandemics,” he said. “COVID-19 highlighted the urgent need for better pandemic preparedness and financing. And we know from the scientific community the next pandemic isn’t very far away. We need to take action now.”

Debnath applauded the inclusion of civil society voices in FIF’s governing body. “The role of civil society is always to increase transparency and community involvement. That will be my focus as a governing member. I’ll also give a voice to One Health principles and ensure they are embedded throughout the fund’s activities.”

FIF aims to issue its first funding call in November, giving international organizations, governments, and development organizations an opportunity to apply for assistance in areas such as zoonotic disease surveillance, laboratory strengthening, emergency communication, and community engagement.

Debnath is a member of the WHO’s One Health High-Level Expert Panel and leads the One Health Bangladesh platform, which supports coordination and networking between government entities and civil society in Bangladesh. He is a veterinarian, holds a Ph.D. in virology, and has authored more than 100 publications.

Since its inception, FIF has garnered US$1.4 billion in financial commitments from the G20 and major philanthropies.

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