AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has urged the European and African leaders to prioritize actions aimed at righting the inequities that have plagued the COVID-19 response by rapidly increasing the sharing of COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics, and related technologies.
AHF made the call in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the European Union-African Union Summit signed by Michael Weinstein, AHF President; Dr Penninah Iutung, AHF Africa Bureau Chief and Zoya Shabarova, AHF Europe Bureau Chief on Thursday.
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“The pandemic has made it abundantly clear – a global public health crisis cannot be solved piecemeal; It requires genuine partnership and cooperation.
“To date, the relationship between the EU and AU in responding to COVID-19 can only be described as perfunctory charity. This is not real cooperation,” the body said.
AHF insisted that a way out of the pandemic would only be found if the two continents worked together as equals.
“We urge you to instil this principle as the motto of the summit. There is no viable alternative to this approach, if wealthy countries continue to hoard vaccines or send nearly expired doses to Africa, the cycle of deadly waves and variants will continue for a long time,” it added.
According to AHF, to address the disparity in vaccine availability between Africa and Europe, the leaders of both regions must commit to; support the TRIPS waiver on vaccine patents and technologies at the World Trade Organization, make vaccines readily available to everyone who needs them and ensure the vaccines have a sufficiently long shelf life to avoid unnecessary wastage.
AHF also want the two regions to expand local generic vaccine manufacturing, technological capacity, and scientific know-how, fund the vaccine distribution infrastructure and human resources while also maintaining a transparent dialogue between EU and AU leaders, and engaging civil society in the cooperation process.
AHF is currently running a campaign that is calling attention to the urgent need to ‘Vaccinate Our World against COVID-19’.
Globally, AHF works in 45 countries and provides care and services to over 1.6 million patients around the world.
The Vaccinate Our World campaign (VOW) was initiated to address the immoral disparity in COVID-19 vaccine access between wealthy nations and those of lower economic status.
To date, 10 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally, with 80% of those going to people in high- and upper-middle-income countries.
Less than 16% of the 1.3 billion people on the African continent have received at least one dose.