The celebration of Africa Day comes as the continent fights with its back to the wall for access to vaccines and economic relief imposed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) – the legislative body of the African Union (AU) – is expected to elect a new leadership in Johannesburg this week.
PAP spokesperson Jeffrey Onganga said the organization had called for more action to fight Covid-19 on the African continent.
It comes amid some criticism that the AU has been slow to create access to vaccines across Africa and implement its continental strategy for Covid-19.
Speaking to PAP, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to South Africa, Bene M’poko, said not realizing that self-reliance is detrimental to the continent. He said Africa is very talented and more than capable of producing its own vaccines.
Speaking on the first day of the World Health Assembly, President Cyril Ramaphosa called on richer nations not to help poorer countries immunize their populations.
The Institute for Global Dialogue’s principal researcher, Sanusha Naidu, echoed Ramaphosa’s feelings about the imbalance between Africa and its Western counterparts.
Speaking to independent media, Naidu said Africa constantly had its back against the wall. “Africa is used to pandemics, be they political, economic, social and health,” she said.
“We are still waging a very painful battle to achieve a more sustainable public health system in Africa and where appropriate we hope that Covid-19 affecting the world sends a strong message to the private sector that it cannot just be about of profits.
“There has to be a humanitarian aspect too and that includes Africa, which is fighting malaria, Ebola, tuberculosis and poverty,” Naidu said.
A total of 2,383 new cases of Covid-19 have been identified in South Africa, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 1,637,848.
Cumulative recoveries amount to 1,541,250, ie a recovery rate of 94.1%.
The total number of people vaccinated under the Sisonke program is 479,768. These vaccinations were performed with the single dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson and are therefore completed vaccinations.