President Paul Kagame has said that Africa needs to fast track the manufacturing of vital products for COVID-19 prevention and management, noting that it requires support across the world to ensure it is done properly.
The President made the emphasis yesterday as he attended the first anniversary of ‘Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator’.
The Access to COVID-19 Tools ACT-Accelerator is the proven, up-and-running global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and ensure equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatment and vaccines.
It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March 2020 and launched by WHO, European Commission, France, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on 24 April 2020.
President Kagame commended the Director General of World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for ‘leading this important response to the global pandemic’.
He highlighted that many developing countries received Covid-19 vaccine due to the ACT Accelerator noting that much more is needed to be done to ensure equitable and affordable distribution.
“For many developing countries, the accelerator has been the only way to access life-saving Covid-19 testing kits, vaccines and treatment. As the pandemic continues to evolve often in unpredictable manner, much more needs to be done to remove barriers to affordability and equitable distribution,” he said.
Kagame explained that efforts are underway paving the way for Africa to start manufacturing essential products for COVID-19 prevention.
“In particular, Africa lags behind in the manufacture of vital products for COVID-19 prevention and management. Efforts are on the way to build this capacity but it requires support across the world to ensure that it is done properly and quickly enough to make a difference in the ongoing pandemic and improve preparedness for the next one,” he noted.
Kagame also reiterated Rwanda’s commitment to the goals of the accelerator.
“We will continue to work together with the WHO , and other partners to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic,” he affirmed.
The ACT-Accelerator alliance was launched on 24 April 2020 by WHO, the European Commission, France, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and deliver tests, treatments and vaccines the world needs to fight COVID-19.
“One year after the launch of the ACT Accelerator, world leaders face a choice: invest in saving lives by treating the cause of the pandemic everywhere, now, or continue to spend trillions on the consequences with no end in sight,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom said.
“With a remaining funding gap of US$ 19 billion for 2021 and limited supply of products, we can only end the pandemic by funding, sharing, and scaling-up access to the tools we need to fight the disease. The time to ACT is now,” he added.
Last week, the African Union (AU) signed agreements with WHO aimed at establishing five research centers on African continent helping it to attain envisaged goal of manufacturing 60% of needed vaccines.