BY SILAS NKALA
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has implored State and non-State actors to uphold the right of people to good health by joining the World Health Organisation (WHO) in calling for an equitable rollout of vaccines in every country.
The ZLHR made the remarks as it joined the world in celebrating the World Health Day which is observed every year on April 7.
This comes at a time when Zimbabwe has since started rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination programme, starting with the frontline workers.
The country has so far vaccinated over 140 000 people with Chinese vaccines, Sinopham and Sinovac, since February 22.
“Coronavirus (COVID-19) has revealed the stark global inequality that exists with regards to access to quality healthcare. High-income countries that have robust healthcare systems, despite being harshly affected by COVID-19, have been able to respond to the pandemic through the manufacture and speedy rollout of vaccines,” the lawyers’ group said.
“In contrast, low-income nations with vulnerable less resilient health systems have borne the brunt of the suffering caused by the pandemic.”
The lawyers added: “This inequity of health outcomes highlights the need for all nations to cooperate on the manufacture of vaccines and their distribution to all persons across the globe as soon as possible.
“The attainment of a society that is fairer and healthier is dependent on this collaboration of all nations in the fight against COVID-19.”
This year, WHO has called for the acceleration of vaccine equity for all healthcare workers and those who are at highest risk of contracting COVID-19.
According to WHO, the best way to end the pandemic, stop future variants, save lives and limit the spread of the virus is to vaccinate quickly and equitably, starting with healthcare workers.
“Healthcare workers have been at the forefront of the pandemic since its beginning and they remain disproportionately exposed to the virus in comparison to other population groups. ”
“Therefore, inclusive vaccination of all healthcare workers is necessary for the prevention of the spread of the virus to the rest of the population,” ZLHR said.