SOUTH AFRICA. Johannesburg: Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) has expressed support over the African Union resolution backing a waiver not to enforce some intellectual property restrictions on COVID-19 medical tools.
The Access Campaign and Advocacy Officer for MSF South Africa, Candice Schoma said this in a statement on February 21.
The African Union during its 34th session had supported the waiver. Currently, the initiative is being discussed at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
“By politically endorsing this landmark proposal, the African Union is giving a critical boost of support for the continent for waiving intellectual property during the COVID-19 pandemic”, she said.
She added that it was disappointing that several developing countries are continuing to delay the waiver against the background of a raging pandemic.
Much Ado About the Waiver
The idea of having a waiver was initiated by India and South Africa and is being supported by countries like Mozambique, Eswatini, Pakistan, Mongolia and Bolivia and Egypt.
Organisations like the World Health Organization( WHO), UNAIDS and the Drugs For Neglected Disease Initiative(DNDi) are also in support of the waiver.
However, some nations with economic influence like the United States of America, the UK, Switzerland, Japan, Australia and the European Union have shown non-commitment to support it.
MSF then called on developing countries to stop stalling the waiver.
By removing enforcements of intellectual property of medical tools, developing countries like most African nations will easily access medical facilities like vaccines.
The African continent needs about 1.5 billion doses for 60 per cent of its population.