Cape Town – Namibia’s Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba has urged parliaments across SADC to prioritise funding of research, development and testing of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.
At the virtual 47th Plenary of the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) this week, VP Mbumba said there was need to increase funding to strengthen co-ordinated approaches to dealing with the pandemic.
“Given the complexity of COVID-19, there is a lot about it that we do not know. We, therefore, need to invest in research, development and testing of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases, and parliaments must ensure that these efforts are sufficiently funded both at national and regional levels,” said VP Mbumba.
He also urged parliamentarians to discuss how best to support dissemination of factual and timely information in light of the proliferation of fake and unscientific news about COVID-19.
VP Mbumba added, “An emergency like COVID-19 can also be a driver for misuse of resources and even corruption. Parliaments must put in place mechanisms for monitoring, evaluation and auditing resources that have been secured towards supporting responses to this pandemic.
“Now more than ever the collective efforts of the SADC PF are needed to spearhead model laws that will bring about the reversal of the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, fast-track regional integration while ensuring that we uphold the democratic governance principles we all subscribed to.”
The Namibian VP applauded the work that health workers have been doing to combat COVID-19, saying the region could never thank them enough for risking their lives for the common good.
“Indeed, it could have been worse, had we not acted swiftly and collectively. In the same vein, I would like to thank all of our frontline staff, the real heroes of the pandemic who have and are right now, battling the COVID-19. They have and are putting themselves in the path of this virus — in SADC, Africa and around the world — in order to curb the spread of this unprecedented virus.
“Our doctors, nurses, technicians, transporters, pharmacists and everyone who supports patient care, you have risen to the occasion and are caring for our most vulnerable populations. Your deeds are remarkable and highly appreciated.”
The 47th Plenary of the SADC PF was themed “The role of parliaments in strengthening accountability during a pandemic: The case of COVID-19”.