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Foundation urges concerted efforts on global access to COVID-19 vaccine



Foundation urges concerted efforts on global access to COVID-19 vaccine

By Talatu Maiwada

The AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF) on Wednesday in Abuja called on world leaders and stakeholders to protect humanity by providing equal access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world.

Country Program Director, AHF Nigeria, Dr Echey Ijezie, made the call during a media roundtable on “Vaccinate Our World” (VOW), a campaign organized by AHF.

Ijezie explained that the purpose of the campaign was to close the disparity over the COVID-19 vaccine that currently exists between rich countries and those with lower economic status.

According to him, around 1.3 billion doses of the vaccine have already been administered worldwide and 83% of the 1.3 billion doses are mainly found in developed countries.

“While only 0.3% was administered in least developed countries and low income countries.

“The disparity is pretty clear, therefore the Foundation calls on world leaders, pharmaceutical companies and public health organizations to ensure equal access to the vaccine.

“If this is not done, it is a moral failure and a public health failure and the pandemic will continue to rage, hence the need to bridge the gap,” Ijezie stressed.

The Country Program Director further called for the need to implement public health communication strategies to increase the level of grassroots disease and vaccine awareness.

“Currently, vaccines are being rolled out across the country, but there is strong resistance to the vaccines, so there is a need for public health communication.

“Stakeholders such as civil society organizations, religious leaders and faith-based organizations can be involved to ensure that the message reaches the grassroots, while emphasizing the safety and efficacy of the vaccine,” he said. he declared.

Also speaking, Mr. Matin Egbambi, Secretary General of Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals, called for the application of the principle of social justice in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Egbambi said it was important to apply the principle of social justice, so that the country’s most vulnerable citizens are taken into consideration.

“We demand that there be an increase in vaccine production and distribution in global research to ensure that lives are protected, including vulnerable citizens.

“Health is wealth and the pandemic we face today requires proactive action,” Egbambi said.

Mr Rommy Mom, chairman of Lawyers Alert, a human rights NGO, said the vaccine should be seen as a global public good and a human right across the world.

“The need to have vaccines on hand and protect lives is important, but only if we see it as a human rights issue, then as human beings we have the right to get it.

“Human rights simply mean that by reason of birth, rights are yours and innate, and cannot be taken away.

“The issue of the right to life and well-being according to the charters explains that no matter what part of the world we live in, everyone has the right and must be vaccinated,” he said.

Ms. Hauwa Mustapha, Acting Assistant, National Coordinating Association for COVID-19 and Beyond, raised concerns about the profits and commercialization involved in purchasing vaccines for financial gain.

However, she underlined the weakness and challenges faced by developing countries on their capacity to produce vaccines which were due to certain international rules on patent rights.

Mustapha demanded that the grants and aid given to African countries in Europe and America be channeled towards the acquisition of vaccines and made available in all statutes, not limited to a particular class.

Those in the south of the world and those interested in key development issues in other parts of the world, she said, should come together and ensure equal access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr Walter Ugwuocha, National Civil Society Coordinator for HIV and AIDS in Nigeria, said only around 2,110,141 Nigerians have been vaccinated.

Ugwuocha noted that COVID-19 started from developed countries and affected everyone, including developing countries.

He said, however, that the weak governance mechanism in developing countries had resulted in poor coordination to ensure equal access to the vaccine.

Ugwuocha further called on African countries and the government of Nigeria to establish diplomatic relations to ensure availability and equal access to the vaccine in developing countries. (NAA)


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