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CONFERENCE AU set for COVID-19 vaccine talks

By Nema Juma

Leaders of the African Union are expected to hold a two day virtual conference to discuss the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine development and how Africa can curb the spread of the disease.

The meeting is expected to start today and ends tomorrow.

Africa has so far reported over 315,380 cases with 8,339 deaths and 150,594 recoveries, according to the tally by Africa’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

Scientists around the world are racing against time to discover a vaccine for the novel Coronavirus, some trials have already started in some parts of the world.

Though, Madagascar-the only African Country that claim to have discovered the cure for the virus, her Herbal Tonic has not been approved by the World Health Organization.

The Director of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. John Nkengasong said that the overall aim of the meeting was to agree as a continent on what would be a frame work for Africa’s leadership role in contributing to the development of COVID-19 vaccine.

The meeting would be chaired by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mohamat and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Gledreyesus the Director General of World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.

The leaders were also expected to discuss on the issues related to access to the vaccine in case there is a vaccine that is available.

“We position ourselves to be or not left behind from getting it,” Nkengasong added.

“We  will also discuss the role of the media on what they should be doing working with us to make sure that they write messages as transmitted around COVID-19 vaccine access and development and then what are the barriers to access what we should be thinking right now.”

He added that there would also be special session on media engagement and civil societies.

“We take that very serious, we know that media participation informs the community, engage the community and build relationship and trust within the community and focus on issues which are very critical for us,”

“We discuss the vaccine, in all this, access to vaccine and development is part of our continental join strategy; One is to limit transmission of COVID-19, second is to limit deaths and lastly is to limit harm,”  Nkengasong said.

Nkengasong said the COVID-19 has already had a very negative impact including economic financial harm.

Last week the bureau of the head of states of government met under the leadership of South African President Cyril Ramaposa and launched the African platform for medical commodities to fight COVID-19.

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