Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo has emphasized the need for world leaders to formally commit to making any approved COVID-19 vaccine freely available to all countries.
Speaking at the first-ever virtual Global Vaccine Summit, hosted by the UK government on Thursday, the President said: “a bold international agreement to this end cannot wait.”
He said the scope and scale of COVID-19 across the world show that no country can on its own fight the virus hence the need for global unity to tackle it together.
“The global spread of COVID-19 has told us in no uncertain terms that the disease knows no boundaries and no country can afford to do it alone. We must ensure equitable access to health services and commodities. As has been said, only a people’s vaccine with equality and solidarity at its core can protect all of humanity from the virus and get our societies running safely again. A bold international agreement to this end cannot wait. We’ve all gone down together, we should all rise together,” the President said.
Nana Akufo-Addo told the global conference that the need for essential medicines in dealing with different health situations have become very important for all countries especially in developing countries where about 2 billion people are estimated to be without essential medicines and vaccines.
He made the point that, the havoc wreaked by COVID-19 due to the lack of a vaccine for it, goes to show the negative impact of dealing with diseases without essential medicines.
“We are in a race against time to secure a vaccine to fight off a virus which in some six months has wreaked havoc in all parts of the world, occasioned the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and brought every economy on the planet on its knees… Today, we appreciate fully the fact that the availability of safe effective ad essential medicine is a bulwark for the delivery for optimal healthcare for all. For us in the developing world including Africa, access and use of essential medicine remains suboptimal, with nearly 2 billion people, according to WHO, without essential medicines and vaccines,” Nana Akufo-Addo said.
While commending Gavi for supporting Ghana’s health sector among other things with its technical expertise and resources, President Akufo-Addo said vaccines “save lives and improve healthcare delivery when they are available, affordable and are of assured quality.”
About two weeks ago President Akufo-Addo joined other world leaders in signing the UNAIDS Public Letter on People’s Vaccine, a campaign calling for the COVID-19 vaccine to become accessible to all when developed.