Guyana restates call for fair access to vaccines, other health products

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Guyana and other Caribbean countries did not have equal access to vaccines and other health products during the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and now, the region is calling for fair access to these products to protect people from any future health disasters.

This was made clear on Wednesday by Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali when he spoke at the high-level meeting on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York.

During his address, made on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr. Ali said vaccine inequity was a huge obstacle to ending and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

That, he said, should not have been.

“We must ensure that people everywhere have unhindered, equitable access to vaccines and other medical countermeasures including medicines, diagnostics, therapeutics and health technologies and other health products,” Dr. Ali emphasised.

This isn’t the first time the Guyanese Head of State lamented this issue. Because of the inequitable access to vaccines during the pandemic, Guyana and Barbados are joining forces with Rwanda to manufacture vaccines in the Caribbean.

Aside from this focus, Dr. Ali also told the UN gathering that consideration must be given to the treatment and prevention of non-communicable diseases

This reinforces the importance of scaling up the prevention, treatment, and control of NCDs in the context of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response and financing for more effective and equitable pandemic responses.

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