Health Cabinet Secretary Rallies Support for Least Developed Nations in the Wake of COVID-19 Devastation
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe is rooting for restructuring of loans to help less developed nations maintain development gains in the wake of devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking on Monday during a high-level virtual meeting convened by USAID administrator Samantha Powers and attended by among others WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom, World Bank Group President, Head of UNICEF, Health Ministers from select European, Asian and South American countries as well as heads of COVAX and AVAT facilities, the CS said there was need to relook at repayment methods to ensure they don’t unfavourably affect interest expenses during the loan period.
“To support weak nations and maintain the development gains made before Covid19 struck us, we should reschedule loan repayments, expiry dates of cessation or restructure of support for a period to allow for recovery.” Observed the Health CS.
In order to surmount current and future challenges, the CS said the world must create a global defence system including global agreements in response to the pandemic and strengthen the World Health Organisation to be an effective global link institution.
“Most nations adopted an excessively nationalistic approach, yet, as we now know, the virus deeply inter-relates the global village. We therefore, need a paradigm shift in our thinking. The virus attacked the world together, indiscriminately. Our response was partial with a silo mentality. Yet it is clear our defense structure must be similarly global.” Submitted Kagwe.
While maintaining that Kenya will remain on high alert to contain the spread of the virus amid the discovery of the Covid omicron variant that has been reported in at least 40 countries, Kagwe said such measures must not be extreme to further segment the globe.
“The lessons we have learnt can keep our economies working. It is the new normal. We should keep the virus away, not people. Kenya’s response is that we shall be welcoming into the country only those who are fully vaccinated and even then, they must have a Covid-19 negative test taken before departure to Kenya and another one upon arrival.” Said Kagwe.
Addressing the meeting, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom noted that vaccines alone will not end the pandemic but rather concerted efforts among members of the global community. “Countries should come together in a shared vision to strengthen the local production of pharmaceutical products, especially in Africa” implored Tedros.
USAID administrator Samantha Powers told the meeting that it was not enough for rich countries to share vaccines but that such support should include last mile delivery to ensure vaccines get into peoples’ arms with areas of support being financing, training and mobilization of volunteers to administer vaccines in countries in need of such support.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Health, Kenya.