The world is currently on its way to widening the coverage of COVID-19 vaccine boosters. However, in February 2022 most of the world’s countries, including most African countries, did not have enough vaccines to cover all health workers or risk groups, never mind the rest of the population. In September 2022, about zero to 19% of the African population had not received a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This shows that Africa has a lot of work to do to make sure it is up to speed with the rest of the world.
The lesson learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that health is not a luxury, it is a fundamental human right and the foundation of social, economic, and political stability. The right to health has been supported by international law since 1946. People require access to medicinal products and healthcare technologies to achieve the highest attainable standard of health. Despite some progress in access to Health Products and Technologies (HPTs), inequality still exists. Low and Lower Middle-Income countries (LMIC), have been the most impacted by the medicine’s inequality. But one of the real positives to come out of this pandemic is that it spearheaded a renewed effort to ensure access, equality, and local ownership.
This ratio is not ideal, and something needs to be done. The manufacturing of health products and technologies in Africa has been sufficiently justified, goals have been set, and some action has been taken. The needle is shifting in the right direction. What is remaining for the continent is to become self-reliant and have bolder and more deliberate actions.