Lusaka – There is need for greater international collaboration in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines as immunisation presents the best hope of containing the pandemic in the foreseeable future, Zambia’s Vice-President Inonge Wina has said.
Launching the Southern Africa Regional Collaborating Centre in Lusaka this week, VP Wina said countries could not operate in silos when confronting the pandemic.
VP Wina said governments should quickly appreciate that vaccine nationalism, where countries hoarded COVID-19 drugs while depriving others, would only result in the perpetuation of the pandemic.
“When nations work together, a lot more can be achieved for the benefit of everyone in the world. The gap and the manner in which the supply of COVID-19 vaccines is being administered globally is a classic example of international threats when countries work in isolation,” she said.
“The negative impact of COVID-19 is written in bold all over the world. No one country or economy has been spared, and it is a clear reminder that unless we collaborate to fight the pandemic, every country on its own will not win the war.”
VP Wina hailed the launch of the healthcare-focused regional collaborating centre, which will co-ordinate Southern African countries in terms of human resources, equipment and other necessities in execution of the mandate of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
She challenged health ministers in the SADC region to place a premium on the operations of the centre and its affiliate institutions in their respective states.African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the continental bloc’s Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, Dr Amira El Fadil, witnessed the launch of the Southern Africa Regional Collaborating Centre.