President Cyril Ramaphosa urges global collaboration on tools to fight Covid-19
Pretoria - The world needs solidarity and cooperation to mobilise and guide investments and drive delivery towards equitable access for new coronavirus (Covid-19) diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, South African President and African Union (AU) chairman Cyril Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa on Friday participated in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) launch of a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable global access to new Covid-19 essential health technologies, the presidency said in a statement.
The launch, which took the form of a virtual event, was co-hosted by WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; French President Emmanuel Macron; European Union (EU) Commission president Ursula von der Leyen; and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Ramaphosa was invited to participate in his capacity as South African President and AU chairman.
"Global health actors, private sector partners, and other stakeholders came together to create a global platform for action, which aims to enhance connections and leverage interdependencies for collective thought-partnership, problem-solving, mobilising, and guiding investments," the presidency said.
This platform would secure equitable access for new Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines. It would enable partners to avoid duplication and overlap, and identify gaps and close them before they emerged. It would connect upstream and downstream activities with countries and communities.
"Its mission is not only accelerated development and production of new Covid-19 tools – it is to accelerate equitable global access to safe, quality, effective, and affordable Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, and thus to ensure that in the fight against Covid-19, no one is left behind."
The launch of the collaboration started the 10-day countdown to a coronavirus global response summit on May 4, a virtual pledging event spearheaded by the EU to mobilise the significant resources needed to accelerate the work towards protecting the world from Covid-19.
In a video message to the launch event, Ramaphosa commended Ghebreyesus on his stewardship of efforts to fight and eliminate the Covid-19 pandemic globally. The president expressed his appreciation for the timely launch of this collaboration, the presidency said.
“Now, more than ever, the world needs solidarity and cooperation to mobilise and guide investments, and drive delivery towards equitable access for new Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines," Ramaphosa said in his message.
The WHO had been instrumental in supporting African governments with early detection of the pandemic, training health workers, and strengthening surveillance in communities, including working with a network of experts to address the containment and prevention of the pandemic, he said.
Africa was extremely vulnerable to the ravages of the virus and was in need of every possible support and assistance. For its part, the AU had established a Covid-19 Response Fund to direct resources to bolster the continent’s response. To date, African countries had contributed a combined amount of US61 million to this fund and to support the work of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. All efforts should complement each other, Ramaphosa said.
The launch was an important milestone in galvanising global support and helping to accelerate work towards protecting everyone from Covid-19.
“South Africa stands ready to provide the necessary support to you, Dr Ghebreyesus, and the World Health Organisation in the execution of your important mandate. I take this opportunity to call upon the international community – for the sake of all humanity – to continue to support and work with the World Health Organisation in leading the fight against this pandemic,” Ramaphosa said.
African News Agency (ANA)
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