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Africa must invest in local production of COVID vaccines to address inequity, says WHO

Africa must invest in local production of COVID vaccines to address inequity, says WHO
December 16
23:28 2021

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says investing in local vaccine production in Africa is essential for health security on the continent.

Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said this on Thursday at the closing ceremony of the first edition of the virtual international conference on public health in Africa (CPHIA 2021).

Speaking at the conference, the WHO DG said although the number of deaths reported in Africa was lower than in other regions, the continent knows the fatality rate was under-reported.

“Millions of children have missed out on vaccination and months of education. Unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is a moral failure,” he said.

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“The persistent inequity and access to vaccines and the emergence of the Omicron variant also shows why investing in local production must be a priority.

“Investing in local production in Africa is essential for strengthening regional health security, but also for our continent’s journey towards universal health coverage. More than any other crisis, COVID-19 has reminded us that health is the most precious commodity on earth.

“I urge all African countries to engage actively in negotiating the new accord on pandemic preparedness and response. I urge all African countries to invest in science and its fruits. Africa needs its own capacity.

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“I urge all African countries to invest in primary health care as the foundation of universal health coverage. The pandemic demonstrates that when health is at risk, everything is at risk.”

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