AFRICA: African Union Member States have called for the need of building new public health order in the continent as there is a slow supply of vaccines to meet the population demand.
On a virtual conference convened by African Union and Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC) under the theme: Africa Vaccine for health security on Monday and Tuesday, the Member States said the continent needs to expand production capacity for vaccines and other essential medical products.
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa said not all countries are having equal access to vaccines at the time they need them most.
“The global disparities in wealth and capability to develop, produce and have access to vaccines is hampering efforts by middle and lower-income countries to make vaccines available to their populations.
“Africa needs to harness its continental capabilities and identify opportunities for collaboration across several countries on the continent”, he said.
Most African countries received their first COVID-19 vaccines early this year yet the pandemic wreaked havoc since last year in the continent.
However, to date, some African countries are on the first rollout while others are on the second.
Most of these vaccines were and are still secured from Asian countries including China, India and Russia.
Africa CDC noted that a critical lesson Africa has learned from #COVID-19 is the need to invest in and built its capacities and capabilities for manufacturing of vaccines.
Rwandan President, Paul Kagame also insisted on the implementation of capabilities to manufacture own medical products.
“Vaccine equity cannot be guaranteed by goodwill alone, Africa needs to expand production capacity and other essential medical products.
“In line with our agenda of increasing domestic health financing, it is important for Africa to forge strategic public and private partnerships for vaccine manufacturing on our continent”, he said.
He also said Rwanda commits to working with member states and partners to make vaccine equity a reality.
Among the Member States were Presidents from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Senegal among others, together with other continental stakeholders.