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Kenya calls for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine

NAIROBI, (The Southern African Times) — Kenya on Tuesday appealed to the international community to promote equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine amid the latest breakthrough at the late-stage trials conducted by leading manufacturers.

Patrick Amoth, director-general of health in the Ministry of Health said that Kenya has welcomed the announcement of the development of an effective and safe vaccine that will boost efforts to contain the pandemic.

“COVID-19 vaccines are a global public good for health that should be accessed by countries in a fair manner,” Amoth told a virtual World Health Organization (WHO) assembly from the capital, Nairobi.

He reaffirmed Kenya’s support for WHO as the specialized UN agency for coordinating global health and health emergencies in the world.

Amoth said that Kenya, under the stewardship of the national emergency response committee on COVID-19 is implementing a comprehensive strategy that aimed at curbing the spread of COVID.

He urged WHO Secretariat to take into account the independent oversight and advisory committee’s recommendation for increased allocation of the core flexible funding for the emergency health program preparedness activities during the development of the Program Budget for the next biennium.

“We recommend reinforcing the capacities of WHO country offices in complementing national preparedness efforts,” said Amoth.

He said that Kenya has instituted legislative, regulatory and policy mechanisms to incorporate the provisions of the International Health Regulations (IHR).

Amoth said that following completion of an IHR joint external evaluation in 2017, Kenya is addressing identified gaps through implementation of the National Action Plan for Health security.

He said that Nairobi recommends that the committee review the progress in all WHO regions, including an assessment of the tools and protocols already in place, particularly in the African region.

“To the greatest extent possible, effort should be made to build on existing mechanisms and processes to avoid unnecessary disruption and scaling up costs,” said Amoth

Meanwhile, 64,588 people have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 after running a cumulative test of 753,959 since March. To date, 43,095 people have recovered while 1,154 had died from the disease.

Out of the 2,108 health care workers who have tested positive for the virus, 22 have died.

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