03 Sep Equatorial Guinea, guest of honor as a speaker at the high-level global press conference on the COVAX initiative
Equatorial Guinea participates in the COVAX Initiative to guarantee access to a quality and effective vaccine against Covid-19 for Equatorial Guineans.
The Vice Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Hon. Mr. Mitoha ONDO’O AYEKABA, has participated as an invited speaker by the Regional Office of the World Health Organization for Africa in the high-level virtual press conference on the COVAX initiative, offered on Thursday, September 3, 2020, which aims to guarantee universal access to vaccines against Covid-19.
Thanks to the COVAX initiative, vaccines that have obtained regulatory approval or WHO prequalification will be supplied equitably to all participating countries, proportionally according to their population. Priority will be given to health professionals and other vulnerable groups, to later expand the availability of vaccines and achieve a coverage of 20% of the population of the participating countries.
In his first intervention, the Vice Minister recalled that “Covid-19 is an unprecedented international health emergency and that its advent constitutes a real challenge for human ingenuity that invites us to transcend our individualities and eliminate old barriers to act with a common goal ”.
Equatorial Guinea is one of the middle and high income countries. Like other countries in the same category (South Africa, Botswana, Gabon, Libya, Namibia, Mauritius and Seychelles), Equatorial Guinea has confirmed its participation in the COVAX initiative and will finance the costs of vaccine doses for its population.
According to the Vice Minister, “Equatorial Guinea joined COVAX because it is the most effective way to ensure that our people can have access to vaccines against COVID-19. We believe that, through this initiative, we can have access to vaccines tested successfully, on time and at the lowest cost ”.
Membership in COVAX does not preclude the search for other solutions by these individual countries. On the contrary, this initiative joins the efforts of the Government of Equatorial Guinea to find solutions to the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, at present, the Government has instructed the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MINSABS) to establish talks with China, Russia and Cuba on the candidate vaccines promoted by these three friendly countries.
It is important to remember that WHO regularly conducts information sessions on COVAX in which Equatorial Guinea already participates. The most recent, which took place in August, was attended by experts and high-level figures from three Departments (Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Ministry of Finance, Economy and Planning, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation).
About the COVAX initiative
It is a global initiative co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), GAVI, the Alliance for Vaccine Creation, and the World Health Organization (WHO). The partners work with governments and manufacturers to procure enough doses of the vaccine to protect the most vulnerable populations. The initiative has two interlinked components to ensure universal access: the COVAX mechanism for high- and middle-income countries and the COVAX pre-market guarantee for lower-middle-income and low-income countries.
About the press conference
Since March, the WHO Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO) has organized the African press conference on Covid-19, focusing on a different topic each week. This virtual information session has gained great popularity among national, regional and international media. It is moderated by the South African journalist Tsepiso Makwetla and the speakers participate through the Zoom platform. More than 300 news websites in Africa broadcast it live. The speakers make short opening statements, and the experts then respond to questions from the media. After each session, the organizers provide journalists with an audio file and statements.