Byanyima says Covid-19 exacerbating inequalities

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Lira—14, November 2021: The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has affected every corner of the globe, inflicting more problems on poor nations and its citizens.

Currently, every country in the world is vaccinating its citizens with bigger hope that the vaccines will help normalize “everything”. World leaders, especially those from rich nations have shared vaccines with developing or poor countries in a bid to bring parity.

Speaking via Twitter Sunday morning (EAT) from Paris, France, Winnie Byanyima who is the Executive Director of UNAIDS and an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, expressed her concerns.

“The world’s poor people are being left at the back of the COVID-19 vaccine queue to face illness, disruption of their livelihood, even death. We saw it with HIV. Now COVID is exacerbating inequalities and pushing back recent gains in public health,” she wrote.

Using hashtags #ParisPeaceForum2021 #EndInequalities, she added that 9 million lives were needlessly lost in the global South because the high price of ARVs kept them out of reach.

“Only when generic medicines from developing countries entered the market did the price of HIV medicines go down, enabling treatment for millions.”

She said the “tragedy is that right now, most people living with HIV are unable to get vaccinated for COVID-19, even though we know that HIV increases risk of severe illness/death.”

In low-income countries, where more than half of people living with HIV live, she noted that vaccine coverage is under 10%.

The Paris Peace Forum 2021 started on November 11, and ended on November 13 under the theme, “Closing the gaps that impede humanity on multiple fronts and preparing for a post-COVID-19 world.”

 US Vice President

United States Vice President Kalama Harris spoke powerfully of the global challenges that must be met but said that primary among them is the need for equality.

As reported by Anadolu Agency, Kamala outlined that “by virtually every measure, the gaps in wealth and gender parity have grown.”

“History is full of leaders, leaders who refused to accept the status quo, who asked why, who took action. And because they did, they changed our world. Today, we face a dramatic rise in inequality, and we must rise to meet this moment. I believe as leaders, we must ask why this inequality persists,” she said, as quoted by Anadolu Agency.

Additional Reporting by Anadolu Agency

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