Tribune. At a time when the richest countries on the planet are meeting around the G7 table, the signals of a gradual control of Covid-19 at home are encouraging even if they do not yet sign the end of the epidemic. In the South, the story is quite different: women and men are dying there for lack of oxygen, hospitals are overwhelmed.
Humanly unbearable, this situation also threatens us directly with a rebound in the pandemic, because health security will not be guaranteed anywhere until it is everywhere in the world. However, barely 2% of the vaccine doses available have been injected in low-income countries, and the epidemic has disrupted all campaigns for access to care: in 15 months of pandemic, 15 years of progress on the front of HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria which have evaporated.
We cannot accept that such a “Sanitary ghetto” on a global scale: the G7 countries must place equitable access to health on the agenda not of their discussions, but of their concrete decisions.
It’s time to turn the tables!
A little over a year ago, however, ACT-A, an international response to the Covid-19 epidemic in low-income countries, was put in place in just a few weeks. Alongside Covax for vaccines, Unitaid is a major player, for diagnostic tests and treatments: for example, 65 million self-tests were distributed in March (it would have taken 10 times more) and 900 million should be be by the end of the year.
Oxygen concentrators, easy to use, sometimes usable without electricity, have been deployed. But there is still so much to do and, despite the relative generosity of Europe, the political will of the rich countries to provide access for everyone, everywhere, to vaccines and treatments has been lacking. It’s time to turn the tables!
If we are to win the race against the virus in vulnerable countries, and therefore the world, we need stronger financial commitments, a strategy that allows us to produce more vaccines today and treatments tomorrow, and local support for health systems.
Negotiate the sharing of patents
In 2021, ACT-A needed $ 22 billion. To date, nearly 16 billion are still missing, or only less than 0.5% of the stimulus plans launched in the United States and Europe! How can we imagine that this funding cannot be found? The G7 must commit to funding international organizations committed to access to health for vulnerable populations and support the strengthening of failing health systems in the South, because too many vaccines or treatments do not reach patients.
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