by Edith M. Lederer
The UN chief who is leading the global cancer prevention effort on Monday said the number of countries vaccinated at 10% or less has dropped from 34 to 18 since January with a call for accelerate progress to end the disease.
UN Under-Secretary-General Ted Chaiban told the UN Security Council that more than 6 million people had died as a result of COVID-19 and more than 1 million had contracted cholera at the World Health Organization in in the last 24 hours, it has become necessary to increase the number of vaccines in countries. where it will not be possible to increase the value in 2021.
“The next six months are crucial,” he said. “By 2022, we must take the necessary steps to increase prevention, gradually closing the right window. prevention equality. “
Chaiban says more than 11.1 billion have been vaccinated worldwide, and 124 of the 194 member states have vaccinated more than 40% of their population, and 51 countries account for more than 70%.
However, in low-income countries, the figure is only 11%, he said. In the WHO region of Africa, 83 percent of the population has not been vaccinated, and in the eastern Mediterranean region, which includes Afghanistan, 51% have not been vaccinated before.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Chaiban, a senior official at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in February to lead a UN mission to ensure global action on the disease. with the help of closing the gap in vaccination production and distribution. It will also provide financial and technical assistance to overcome prevention problems.
Chaiban said the election campaign completed in Ethiopia had increased from 4% in January to more than 20%, including in some areas affected by the conflict. In the conflict-torn Central African Republic, he said, strong social integration, including sectarian dialogue, television and radio with leaders and activists and youth unity, has reached 19 percent. % of the population immune.
Chaiban told parliament he was speaking on video from Congo where he would meet with a UN delegation this week. government officials and key partners “to effectively address the urgent needs and obstacles to expanding the spread of immunization across this country of nearly 100 million people.”
Dr Esperanza Martinez, a senior adviser to the Red Cross’s director general, said vaccinations and other health-related services were “extremely difficult to implement” in conflict-affected areas.
“The good news is that as the supply of vaccines increases, the likelihood of getting jabs in the arms is also growing,” she said.
To achieve this, Martinez said, the Security Council should ensure that international humanitarian law, which requires the protection of health workers and equipment, is respected, and that coronavirus vaccination is part of its efforts to improve. health and strengthening the health systems of conflict-affected countries. He said enter the community in prevention activities is the key to access public trust.
“We’ve seen vaccinations end up on tarmac at airports in Afghanistan, Nigeria, South Sudan and many other places,” Martinez said. “Some of these vaccines have failed because they come with a limited expiration date, and some because the national health system is not ready to disassemble them.”
To address the significant gap in immunization coverage, Chaiban of the United Nations urged the Security Council to continue to support the two-point resolution calling for a ceasefire and increased international cooperation to facilitate immunization in key areas. there is confusion.
He urged countries to turn $ 4.8 billion in pledges made at Friday’s summit to help low-income countries grow their immunization “to better aid” now.
Chaiban also urged members of parliament to make recommendations and assist in ensuring the delivery of humanitarian aid without any hindrance. prevention production and management of vaccines and investment in primary health care “as an integral part of future immunization programs.”
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