Covid-19 pandemic highlights need for self-reliance, says WHO regional director
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Johannesburg - The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the urgent need for global solidarity and reinforced a need for African countries to be self-reliant, says Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the Africa regional director for the World Health Organization.
Moeti was speaking at the Steve Biko Memorial Lecture, which was held virtually, on Sunday night. September 12, marked 44 years since Biko was murdered by apartheid police while he was in custody.
Moeti focused her speech on the global urgency needed to help get vaccinations to as many countries as possible.
She said the glaring vaccine shortage in many African countries had been caused by a backlog in distribution.
Moeti said the pandemic had highlighted the poor investment in health care that many countries had not paid attention to. Although Africa was not as impacted by the pandemic as previously predicted, the pandemic had highlighted an urgent need for self-reliance and for governments to be more accountable to citizens.
She warned, just as many in the science community have, that that was not the last pandemic and preparedness would be crucial.
“Covid-19 should be awake up call to transform our society and systems. And build a world that is guided by equity and self-reliance.”
Moeti said more than $80 billion (about R1 trillion) was lost every year in Africa, due to corruption and illicit financial flows.
She said a social compact was needed, between governments and citizens, to address corruption and maladministration which had impacted on many African countries.
“A compact is needed, citizens need to play their part but they also need to trust and rely on their government,” she said.