WHO Director-General Hosts Minister Francis

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, His Excellency Professor David John Francis, paid a courtesy call on Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organisation (WHO).

The Honourable Minister said the Government of Sierra Leone is grateful for WHO’s continued support and health interventions in the country, particularly support for covid-19 response and other health issues including Malaria, TB and AIDS.

The Minister said Sierra Leone recognizes the critical role Human Capital Development plays in driving sustained economic growth, boosting productivity and reducing poverty. As such the government is committed to achieving a predictable, consistent, and long-term investment in the field of health, education and trade by investing in human capital development.

Regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, the Foreign Minister said to address the global imbalance of manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines, Sierra Leone along with other ECOWAS countries is supporting the initiative to boost vaccine production in the continent. The Hon. Minister reiterated such hubs will allow for greater and more diversified vaccines manufacturing capability, strengthen African regional health security and respond more equitably to the current COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics. The Minister highlighted WHO’s key role in bringing this initiative to reality.

In his statement, Director-General, World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said increasingly, a two-track pandemic is developing, with richer countries having access and poorer ones being left behind. He mentioned that the WHO is calling on countries with advanced vaccination programs and stakeholders to commit to work together to scale up needed financing, boost manufacturing and ensure the smooth flow of vaccines and raw materials across borders to dramatically increase vaccine access to support the health response and economic recovery, and to bring needed hope.

Dr. Ghebreyesus highlighted WHO is working with partners to harness a new level of international support for – and implementation of – a stepped up coordinated strategy, backed by new financing, to vaccinate the world.

In this regard, he said, WHO is aiming to increase vaccine allocation to developing countries, including Sierra Leone, in the near future.

The Director-General expressed WHO’s support for this initiative and commended Sierra Leone’s leadership and commitment to vaccine equity.