AHF, CSO partners demand strengthening WHO pandemic report before final negotiation

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By Ijeoma Obioma .

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation – AHF Nigeria, in collaboration and some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have called for a readjustment of the current draft of the WHO pandemic agreement.

This is with a view to strengthening the international community’s ability to detect and respond to future pandemics threat, especially in developing nations as the final Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) meeting of the WHO Pandemic Agreement approaches, according to them.

They made the call in Abuja at a press briefing ahead of the finalization of WHO agreement Draft in May 2024.

AHF – Nigeria Country Programme Director, Dr. Echey Ijezie, who highlighted some important issues on the draft pandemic agreement, suggested that effective mechanism and accountability structure should be enforced for humanity’s sake rather than profit making.

“AHF is worried about the WHO pandemic agreement, which has become weaker during negotiations and lack accountability.
“Developed countries are protecting drug companies instead of focusing on making sure that everyone has access to healthcare during pandemics.

“The agreement promises 20 per cent of needed product during a pandemic, we need strong rules to make sure countries follow the agreement and prepare for future pandemics,“he said.

In his remark, National Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (NEPWHAN), Abdulkadir Ibrahim,who noted the role of civil society as critical partners to global responses on pandemics and related issues, emphasized the need for government and political leaders to prioritize the safety of human lives.

Also speaking, the President ,Lawyers Alert, Barrister Rommy Mom,who said pandemic responses should be “Right based” where the world can implement Rights policies especially in the global south, called for compliance and monitoring.

“When-we approach the issues of pandemics, low-income countries find it difficult to access drugs because people can’t afford them, but if we look at it from a human rights angle, people should have access to lifes aving medications,”he said.

The Deputy National Chairperson, Alliance for COVID-19 and Beyond and Focal Person, Climate Change, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Hajia Hauwa Mustapha.also highlighted some of the causes of pandemics.

According to her,it is important for a constant check on the consumption of chemicals that are likely to cause pandemics ,rather than managing pandemics.

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Network of Religious Leaders Living with and affected by HIV/AIDS (NINERELA+), MS. Amber Itohan Erinmwinhe, emphasized that the core role of civil society should be repositioned and re-defined in the engagement of pandemic responses.

The Vice President, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, (NAWOJ), Mrs Chizoba Ogbeche,noted that the protection of women and children in society, against future pandemics, should be paramount as she called for a systemic change among big pharma.
Edited by Dawud Ahmed.

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