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COVID-19 vaccines: WHO tasks pharm coys on increased production to overcome supply shortage

By Hassan Zaggi

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised pharmaceutical companies to expand their manufacturing capacities to overcome the current supply shortages of the COVID-19 vaccine.
This is contained in a statement by the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, to commemorate the year 2021 World Health Day.
She also charged countries to share the doses they already got so that those she described as “most-at-risk population” in all countries will be protected.
“Specifically, on COVID-19 vaccines, we strongly encourage pharmaceutical companies to expand their manufacturing capacities to overcome current supply shortages. We also encourage wealthy countries to share their doses, so that the most-at-risk populations in all countries can be protected, to save lives and speed-up the recovery from this global crisis.”
She, therefore, called on member- states, partners, civil society, communities, and other stakeholders to intensify work with WHO to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and to invest in addressing the social and economic determinants of health, to tackle inequities and build a fairer, healthier world.
She vowed that WHO will continue to be committed to ensuring that all people in Africa, and globally, can realize the right to good health.
While calling on all and sundry to participate in building a fairer, healthier world, the WHO noted that the “COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on inequalities between countries.
“Amid shortages of essential supplies, African countries have been pushed to the back of the queue in accessing COVID-19 test kits, personal protective equipment and now vaccines.
“Of 548 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered worldwide, only 11 million or 2%, have been in Africa, whereas the continent accounts for around 17% of the global population.”
She revealed that a key challenge in overcoming inequities is the dearth of data showing who is being missed and why.
“To address this, national health information systems need to capture age, sex and equity stratified data. This information can then be used to inform decision- and policy-making. 
“At WHO, we are working with countries to strengthen capacities to collect, manage and use data, and to enhance monitoring and action to address avoidable inequities. In the past year we have disseminated technical guidance on gender, equity and COVID-19 and trained 30 country teams in gender and health equity integrated programming.
“The teams are using skills gained to support equitable health response, including to deal with gender-based violence in the context of COVID-19. 
“Investment is also needed to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage, to protect individuals from financial hardship in accessing needed care and to improve service coverage.”

Written by ExpressDay


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