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General News of Thursday, 25 March 2021

Source: GNA

International Organisation for the Francophonie calls on Minister of Health

A delegation from the International Organisation for the Francophonie on Wednesday paid a courtesy call on Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Ghana’s Minister of Health, at his office in Accra.

The delegation, which was led by Ms Louise Mushikiwabo, the Secretary-General of the International Organisation for the Francophonie, was in the country to obtain first-hand information on the progress of Ghana’s COVID-19 Vaccine programme and the efforts being made to secure additional serum to inoculate its targeted population.

Ms Mushikiwabo commended the Government of Ghana and the Ministry of Health for the swift initiative to sign up to the COVAX Vaccine facility, which was a pillar of access to COVID-19 tools, and co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi and the World Health Organization (WHO), alongside key delivery partner UNICEF.

She said the Facility aimed to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and guaranteed fair and equitable access for every country in the world to stop the spread of the global pandemic, which had already caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and disrupted that of billions more.

Ms Mushikiwabo explained that her Organisation was on a global mission to assess their level of accessibility to COVID-19 vaccines, especially by countries in Africa and Asia who were economically deficient, and to lobby others who had excess serum in stock which were not currently being used, to share with others to prevent waves of new viral mutations.

She said global equitable access to a vaccine, particularly to protect health care workers and that most-at-risk was the only way to mitigate the public health and economic impact of the pandemic, and indicated that the team would be visiting countries including Togo, Cambodia and Laos, but pledged its continuous collaboration and support to Ghana’s efforts.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said the pandemic took the entire world by surprise and that although a lot was achieved since the outbreak globally, the end seemed to be still far from near.

He spoke about the strenuous efforts being made by the Government to secure additional vaccine supplies as promised under the COVAX facility support but said the vaccine politics and political diplomacy was inhibiting such progress and frustrating equitable access.

He, however, said Ghana prepared very well by taking due advantage of the opportunity offered under the COVAX and AU Windows respectively, and further made other arrangements to secure more COVID-19 vaccines from independent sources and was still expecting to receive the second doses of these consignments.

Mr Agyeman-Manu thanked the Organisation for the diplomatic mission and hoped their efforts would help countries with little to enjoy equity in the vaccine distribution process, but also called for the need to ensure technology transfer and the expansion of manufacturing industries to ensure the production of more COVID-19 vaccines for the global population.

The delegation later visited the vaccination centre at the Adabraka Polyclinic to observe the progress of work.

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