March 3, 2024

Why doesn’t the West help Africa as it staggers under Covid?

Liberian health official writes damning article in Nature

The former director-general of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, Mosoka Fallah, has written a scathing attack on Western indifference to African Covid deaths in Nature:

My social media used to be alive with wishes for happy birthdays and anniversaries. Now it is inundated with “rest in peace”. The moment for high-income nations to come to the aid of Africa, a continent they depend on for an abundance of human and natural resources, has almost passed …

As I and my peers across African health ministries see it, rich countries are hoarding vaccines, allowing doses to expire while unvaccinated people who want to be immunized die.

Let me say this as an African: our world as we know it is on the brink; we face massive death tolls, and the collapse of economies and nations. What is the real meaning of humanity? For all lives to be given the same value, irrespective of geography or economy.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the United States developed the Marshall Plan to enable devastated countries in Western Europe to recover. It was an inspiring moment in human history. The current human calamity must be stopped with a new Marshall Plan, whereby prosperous nations freely share vaccines, manufacturing capacity and resources — if not for the sake of their consciences, then for health security.

Regions where COVID-19 cases are allowed to soar are the places where the next variant will emerge. That could undo all the advances made with the vaccine roll-out in developed countries.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge   

Creative commons