UNITAID / COVID-19 AFRICA RESPONSE

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09-May-2022 00:02:04
UNITAID advocates for strong support for Africa’s response to the pandemic and welcomes Second Global COVID-19 Summit. UNITAID

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STORY: UNITAID / COVID-19 AFRICA RESPONSE
TRT: 02:04
SOURCE: UNITAID
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LANGUAGE: FRENCH / NATS

DATELINE: 9 MAY 2022, NAIROBI, KENYA / FILE, GBESSIA, GUINEA

SHOTLIST:

9 MAY 2022, NAIROBI, KENYA

1. Various shots, streets, exterior
2. SOUNDBITE (French) Hervé Verhoosel, Spokesperson, UNITAID:
“It is very important for the international community to reaffirm their commitment to low- and middle-income countries in the fight against COVID-19. Not only vaccines, which are available today but also additional investments are needed for drugs and testing. We need to be able to test and then treat at-risk patients who test positive. For example, today, only two daily tests per 100,000 inhabitants are conducted in low- and middle-income countries. This is 50 times less than in higher-income countries, where 100 tests per 100,000 inhabitants are conducted daily. Therefore, the health agency UNITAID calls on the international community to invest more in low-income countries, particularly here in Africa.”

FILE – GBESSIA, GUINEA

3. Various shots, Epidemiological Treatment Centre, exterior

9 MAY 2022, NAIROBI, KENYA

4. SOUNDBITE (French) Hervé Verhoosel, Spokesperson, UNITAID:
“Health agency UNITAID welcomes the organization of this second Summit. It is important to see donor countries, such as the United States or Germany, alongside countries such as Senegal, which currently chairs the African Union. UNITAID calls for all of these countries to confirm their commitments and come up with additional commitments adapted to the current context of the pandemic in the world.

FILE - GBESSIA, GUINEA

5. Wide shot, exterior, COVID-19 triage zone at the Epidemiological Treatment Centre in Gbessia, Guinea.


STORYLINE:
UNITAID advocates for strong support for Africa’s response to the pandemic and welcomes Second Global COVID-19 Summit.

During a field visit in Nairobi today (9 May), Hervé Verhoosel, spokesperson of the global health agency UNITAID made the following quotable statement.

On May 12, world leaders will gather to consider crucial next steps in the global COVID-19 response.

According to UNITAID, significant progress has been made, and we are seeing decreasing prevalence rates. But significant challenges remain.

Inequalities are substantial between high-level income countries and low- and middle-income countries.

Today, low- and middle-income countries test at an average of just two tests per day per 100,000 people – far from the goal of 100 per day. Access to life-saving treatments, including new antivirals, is limited by constrained supply, while many countries are still facing crucial medical oxygen shortages. Current estimates show that around 1 million severe COVID-19 patients per day require about 500 000 cylinders of oxygen.

According to UNITAID, we are in a pivotal moment for COVID-19 therapeutics – outpatient treatment is now possible. In addition to several options to manage severe covid-19, we now have new oral treatment options for mild cases. For the first time, we can test and treat to save the lives of people who are most at risk of severe COVID-19.

UNITAID calls on the pharmaceutical industry to ensure the wide availability of these treatments in low- and middle-income countries, including via voluntary license agreements.

This week’s summit is the moment to strengthen the commitment of the international community to support the fight against COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries, particularly on the African continent.

Now is the moment to act for equity. Future pandemics will likely be airborne. Investment in strategies to test and treat – and ensure reliable, equitable access to medicines and oxygen – will pay dividends now and in the future.

UNITAID is a global health agency engaged in finding innovative solutions to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases more quickly, cheaply, and effectively in low- and middle-income countries. Its work includes funding initiatives to address major diseases such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV co-infection and co-morbidities, including advanced HIV disease, cervical cancer, and hepatitis C, and cross-cutting areas, such as fever management.

UNITAID is now applying its expertise to address challenges in advancing new therapies and diagnostics for the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a key member of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, leading the therapeutics pillar and participating in the diagnostics pillar.

UNITAID is hosted by the World Health Organization.
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