Kagame joins world leaders to mobilise funding for Covid-19 vaccine
President Paul Kagame has said that the initiative to accelerate the availability and access to Covid-19 vaccine will play a key role in ending the pandemic and in getting African countries’ economies and people back to work.
He was speaking on Thursday, September 10, during the inaugural meeting of the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator Facilitation Council.
A total of US$35 billion is still needed for the ACT-Accelerator to realise its goals of producing two billion vaccine doses, 245 million treatments and 500 million tests, according to World Health Organization (WHO).
Kagame joined Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General; Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission; UN Secretary-General, António Guterres; Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, and Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, among other leaders at the meeting.
The ACT-Accelerator is the proven, up-and-running, global collaboration accelerating the development, production, and equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, according to the WHO.
President Kagame noted that this is certainly one of the most important initiatives underway in the world today, and perhaps ever.
“The vaccine pillar holds the most promise for getting our economies and our citizens back to work. By pooling risk through this innovative model, we can ensure that vaccine distribution is fair and equitable. This will, in turn, support the resumption of economic activity, which benefits us all,” he observed.
ACT-Accelerator was launched on 24 April 2020 by WHO with partnership of the European Commission, France and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The initiative also has the backing of the UN Secretary-General and multiple Heads of Government.
The WHO says that it is already delivering substantial returns; with over 170 countries engaged in the new Covid-19 Vaccine Facility and ten candidate vaccines are under evaluation.
Nine of the vaccine candidates are in clinical trials, giving the largest and most diverse Covid-19 vaccine portfolio in the world.
Kagame highlighted the need to ensure that vaccines and other tools are directed where they are needed most.
“Some countries are at greater risk than others. And some populations within countries require special attention. It is important to prioritise the hotspots,” he said.
He added from experience in Rwanda and Africa in dealing with other health challenges, the difference between success and failure lies in building a robust public health infrastructure that can confront any health issue in a sustainable manner.
“Solid health systems combined with transformational partnerships such as this Accelerator, are absolutely critical,” he said.