By Ochiaka Ugwu
The President of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Amb. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, has revealed that the world body is pushing for equal access to Covid-19 vaccines by all countries once the vaccines are available.
Muhammad-Bande who made this known recently while addressing a virtual press conference, added that the developing countries have done better than developed countries in managing the pandemic.
It could be recalled that COVID-19 has spread rapidly and extensively to most countries in the world, resulting in considerable mortality in Europe and the United States, as well as in numerous upper-middle-income countries in South America and Asia.
Experts predicted millions of COVID-19 deaths in Africa because many countries in the continent rank poorly on the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index. However, more than five months after the first cases in Africa were detected; prevalence and mortality are still low.
Continuing, Muhammad-Bande said that Covid-19 has reminded us that we cannot have peace when your neighbours are having no peace.
“You cannot be healthy when your neighbours are not healthy. The pandemic has brought this to bear directly”.
He said, “Poor and rich countries are all affected. In some respect, Africa or Nigeria has done far better than countries that were expected to have done even better in dealing with the pandemic. Of course, the difference is that richer countries have been better able to provide palliatives for their citizens than poorer countries that were struggling even before the pandemic.”
The UNGA president noted that the poorer segment in all countries have been hit the most by the pandemic, adding that even in countries that are better structured in terms of financing, the poorer villages are the most hit.
Going forward, Muhammad-Bande stressed that there was need to pay more attention to the issue of disparity in technology, whether in education or in agriculture in the developing countries.
He added, “UN has taken the lead, pushing for equal access to vaccines once they are available. The United Nations operates on the principle of leaving no one behind.”
On Mali crisis, the UNGA President noted that the region has a very strong body Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) that the leadership has been given to handle the issue.
Muhammad-Bande stated: “The issue is that the UN council is fully involved and the problem is also being permanently dealt with by the body that is closest to it which is the ECOWAS leadership, which is being supported. The UN has been heavily involved because it is a security issue. The UN works with the AU and ECOWAS leadership.”