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“In Africa we need more vaccines”

“In Africa we need more vaccines”
“In Africa we need more vaccines”

A highly complicated situation, which is dramatically affected by the lack of vaccines. Robert Zulu, provincial director of health in Zambia, testifies in this interview to the difficult scenario not only of his country but of the whole of Africa, where only 3.5% of the population has so far been vaccinated against Covid-19. A situation that, as reported today also by WHO experts, risks turning into a sentence: even in 2022 the situation of the pandemic in Africa will not change, with economic and social consequences.

Zulu effectively summarizes what has happened in the last year and a half, with the three pandemic waves that have hit Africa. Starting with the first, when denial was also widespread. Then the increase in cases and deaths, the emergence of variants, the health structures to collapse, up to the lack of oxygen, on a continent with already precarious health facilities. As the informal economy collapsed, Zulu explains in the interview, fake news about vaccines was also spreading in local communities.

After thanking the NGO Amref Health Africa for the work done in support of local communities, the health director underlines that now, when a few batches of vaccines become available, people flock to get access to immunization, even if the doses are very few. It also reiterates the need to always have supplies of personal protective equipment, such as masks, to make both patients and healthcare professionals feel safe.

Recently Amref Health Africa launched an international petition, underlining that “Covid-19 vaccinations in Africa cannot take place through loans but through international solidarity mechanisms. Health, just like climate change mitigation, is a global public good ”. According to the NGO, it is necessary to “put an end to injustice: rich countries no longer have to accumulate vaccine stocks, but together with the pharmaceutical industries prioritize and accelerate the commitments made to Covax and the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) by giving these mechanisms the possibility to move forward in deliveries “.

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