President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera says the starting point for ending the Covid-19 crisis is to release the vaccine doses and the vaccine production rights to save human lives saying it is reported that half a billion vaccine doses being kept by developed countries will expire in three months asking them what are they waiting for.
Dr Chakwera said most of the 46 member states of the Least Developed Countries and the 16 Southern African Development Community [SADC] countries, vaccination rates are below 2 per cent saying the rate would be at 0 per cent were it not for the COVAX facility coordinated by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization (WHO).
He said with such limited access to vaccines, countries had to make the most of preventive and remedial measures saying in Malawi alone, three waves of the pandemic have been brought under control without the use of lockdowns.
In a statement made at the General Debate of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held in New York, the USA on Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, President Dr Chakwera said Malawi has constructed and staffed recovery centres in record time, treated Covid patients and registered a recovery rate of over 85 per cent, and cut infection rates down from 40 per cent to less than 5 per cent.
Dr Chakwera said Malawi has kept the death toll from Covid below 3000 and facilitated monthly cash transfers to support thousands of households exposed to loss of income by the pandemic, these measures Malawi has employed to achieve all this, are not sustainable saying the most effective weapon Malawi need is the Vaccine.
He called for the need to work together on Social Development Goals [SDGs] observing that as a global community, there is no progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda that does not involve working together across borders, across sectors and across Social Development Goals (SDGs).
The President said the need to work together on SDGs is why he was happy to host a Pre-UN Food Systems Summit for African Heads of State and Government where leaders shared what they learnt from the successful implementation of the Affordable Input Programme (AIP) which increased Malawi’s production by 21 per cent in its first session.
“The need to work together on SDGs is why I addressed the first-ever Summit for Heads of State from Africa and Caricom, Malawi is one of eight nations that are champions on SDGs to achieve clean energy for all by 2030,”aid Dr Chakwera.
He said the need to work together on SDGs is why he is looking forward to hosting a Climate Conference for SADC next month in readiness for collaboration with other regions at the upcoming COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.