Geneva [Switzerland], December 15 (ANI/Sputnik): Africa has built more experience than any other continent in conducting large-scale health campaigns during the many past epidemics it had to face, inspiring confidence in its ability to manage the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine, WHO Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director Mike Ryan said on Monday.
"I have every confidence that Africa has shown the way before, has demonstrated actually how to do large community-based campaigns. What we need to do is get vaccines for Africa and for other developing countries. The issue now, for me, is not about demand in Africa. It is about generating supply for Africa and other developing countries, and that needs to happen soon," Ryan said at a virtual briefing.
Recalling the "huge success" of African countries in organising campaigns against such dangerous diseases in the past as cholera, yellow fever and measles, the WHO official said that Africa "has more experience in mass campaigns probably than any other continent in the last number of years."
Africa is currently the world's second-least affected region to the Western Pacific, with 1.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and close to 36,000 related deaths.
Numerous international health experts, including from the WHO, told Sputnik that the failure to provide Africa with a coronavirus vaccine in a timely manner risks undoing years of efforts mobilized to battle continental contagious deadly diseases, including ebola and malaria. This will likely add up to such expected implications of the pandemic as famine and flight of critical medical and humanitarian personnel from the continent.
The WHO and partners have put together a global facility -- COVAX -- whose aim is to ensure equitable access to the vaccine when it becomes available, both for countries which can afford it and those in need of assistance. (ANI/Sputnik)