(CU)_Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland addressed the World Health Assembly last week, during which she made a strong case for vaccine equity following the COVID-19 pandemic. The Secretary-General addressed the WHO forum via video link to highlight the significance in unity delivering resilience in health systems across the globe.
Speaking of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of over one million people, Scotland discussed the significance of COVID-19 vaccine equity, which she described as a “critical issue in the Commonwealth, and across the world”. Recent figures published by the COVAX vaccine sharing initiative show that in low-income countries, only 16 per cent of people have received a single Coronavirus vaccine dose, compared to 80 per cent in developed countries. In the Commonwealth, of the 2.5 billion population from across the 54 member-states, over 40 per cent are yet to receive a single vaccine shot, while vaccination remain less than 15 per cent in certain least developed Commonwealth countries in Africa.
According to the Secretary-General, the recent health crisis had further exposed inequities of health systems across the world, particularly among least developed small states in the Commonwealth. Accordingly, she underscored the need for unity to establish health systems that are stronger and more resilient in order to withstand future pandemic.
“We need to create resilience in our health systems – to be better-prepared, better-resourced and flexible enough to absorb shocks caused by future health-related emergencies,” Scotland told the attendees of the Health Assembly. To deliver this resilience, we need to work together to move toward Universal Health Coverage and global health security. We now have an opportunity to shape the kind of Commonwealth and the world that we want – but we must work together to achieve it.”