President Paul Kagame has requested the African Union Chairperson to consider appointing an African Head of State to commence engagements to ensure that Africa has access to Covid-19 vaccine once it’s available.
President Kagame was speaking at a virtual meeting of the African Union Bureau and Chairs of Regional Economic Communities chaired by AU chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
Speaking at the meeting, Kagame requested the AU leadership to appoint an official specifically to engage global stakeholders to ensure that the African continent will be able to obtain the vaccine when it’s available.
This will ensure that Africa does not miss out on the vaccine or get insufficient quantities.
“I would like to request the Chairperson to consider appointing one of the Heads of State to work closely with Strive (Masiyiwa) who is already on the task to focus on ensuring that Africa obtains the vaccine once it is available,” the President said.
Masiyiwa, the Zimbabwean Business Mogul is working closely with the AU to acquire medical supplies and preventive gear for the continent.
At the onset of the pandemic, it emerged that countries making individual orders of medical supplies were having a hard time accessing the supplies due to the magnitude of orders globally as well as some restrictions by some economic regions globally.
In response to the challenge, the African Union teamed up and appointed Masiyiwa to lead in the coordination of procurement efforts.
If the same model of consolidating resources and orders is implemented in vaccine procurement, experts believe that it could improve chances of vaccine access across the continent.
Several vaccines have entered the trial stage with numerous others under development. To speed up the process globally, unprecedented international alliances have been formed and billions of dollars have been allocated.
Kagame also noted the need to advance the domestic health financing agenda that was propelled by the AU.
“This is the moment to look closely at our health budgets and see where we can improve both the quantity and quality of spending,” he said.
He commended efforts of the Africa Medical Supplies Platform which he said has already started to show benefits as more countries access can now access medical supplies.Follow https://twitter.com/ByCollinsMwai