Canada becomes first country to support COVID-19 therapeutics via new UNICEF fund

Low- and middle-income countries set to benefit from Canadian contribution in support of global equitable access to lifesaving COVID-19 medical supplies

05 May 2021

NEW YORK/COPENHAGEN, 5 May 2021 – The Government of Canada has made the first-ever contribution to the therapeutics pillar of UNICEF’s newly-launched Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator Supplies Financing Facility (“ACT-A SFF”). The generous contribution of $230 million CAD ($182 million US) is earmarked specifically for the procurement and delivery of COVID-19 therapeutics for low- and middle-income countries.

This contribution comes in the context of UNICEF’s work with other ACT-A partners to ensure early access to COVID-19 therapeutics. The funds will support the procurement and delivery of supplies for therapeutic interventions, such as Oxygen therapy-related supplies and Dexamethasone. One of the initial transactions supported by this Canadian contribution will be the urgent provision of 1,450 oxygen concentrators for India as part of UNICEF’s broader response to the country’s ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The contribution will also support access to quality-assured, approved, novel therapeutics, such as monoclonal antibodies and antivirals, as they become available.

“We applaud the Government of Canada for being the first to step forward to fund COVID-19 therapeutics via the Supplies Financing Facility,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “This contribution will expand availability of, and access to, critical COVID-19 supplies, and will go a long way towards alleviating the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic in low- and middle-income countries.”

The size and scope of this contribution will provide a boost for public health systems by helping with the treatment of COVID-19 patients. It will also help accelerate access to new products through the ability to engage in advance market purchasing to secure supplies in bulk for countries. UNICEF will publicly report on the supply procurement which is financed via this mechanism.

“The faster we can get tests, treatments and vaccines out to people, the sooner this pandemic can be contained. The public health emergency unfolding in India has underscored the urgency of the situation and the need for new and available therapeutic interventions,” said Karina Gould, Canada’s Minister for International Development.  “Canada is pleased to be working with UNICEF to ensure that the most at risk are getting the life-saving COVID-19 therapies they need.”

The ACT-A SFF is a pooled fund launched by UNICEF that draws on the full strength of UNICEF’s global procurement expertise and footprint to purchase supplies such as COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. UNICEF aims to raise US$2.5 billion for ACT-A SFF by the end of 2021. 


Notes for editors: 

In addition to supplying regular UNICEF programmes, we undertake procurement on behalf of governments, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), philanthropic organizations and universities. Individuals and profit-making entities are not eligible for accessing UNICEF Procurement Services.

About ACT-Accelerator

The Access to COVID-19 Tools ACT-Accelerator, is a new, ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March 2020 and launched by the WHO, European Commission, France and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020.

The ACT-Accelerator is not a decision-making body or a new organization, but works to speed up collaborative efforts among existing organizations to end the pandemic. It is a framework for collaboration that has been designed to bring key players around the table with the goal of ending the pandemic as quickly as possible through the accelerated development, equitable allocation, and scaled up delivery of tests, treatments and vaccines, thereby protecting health systems and restoring societies and economies in the near term. It draws on the experience of leading global health organizations which are tackling the world’s toughest health challenges, and who, by working together, are able to unlock new and more ambitious results against COVID-19. Its members share a commitment to ensure all people have access to all the tools needed to defeat COVID-19 and to work with unprecedented levels of partnership to achieve it.

The ACT-Accelerator has four areas of work: diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and the health system connector. Cross-cutting all of these is the workstream on Access & Allocation.

Media contacts

Joe English
Tel: +1 917 893 0692
Anne-Sophie Bonefeld
UNICEF Copenhagen
Tel: +45 24 69 46 76


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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