The Covid-19 is spreading like wild-fire and now finally we have a vaccine to fight it. The UAE has been taking significant steps to ensure the production of vaccines happens quickly so that more people can have access to it.
The Hope Consortium is an initiative taken by the government to ensure equitable, faster access to vaccines and it has been hailed for that.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said that this initiative will help provide access to the vaccine to the needy in over 170 countries.
Robert Mardini, director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all in one way or another, but very unequally. People and communities affected by armed conflict or other types of violence have been the hardest hit- people like those in Syria, Yemen, and northeastern Nigeria. Less than 50 percent of health care facilities [in this area] were functioning even the pandemic struck, and the pandemic is one more deadly concern among many others.”
DIFFICULTY IN HARD-TO-ACCESS POPULATION
Robert Mardini further added, “Ensuring equitable access to vaccines is a major concern, especially for people in hard-to-reach areas, displaced peoples, detainees and those in forgotten communities. There are also currently 65 million people living in areas under the control of non-state armed groups, and they are excluded from basic services like health care. That is why the Hope Consortium is so timely and so important.”
The Consortium is led by Abu Dhabi health care regulator, the Department of Health (DoH), and is a public-private partnership. It aims to set the UAE capital as a hub for vaccine delivery.
Moreover, it has received support from the cargo division of Etihad Airways, Etihad Cargo, Abu Dhabi Ports, digital security provider Maqta Gateway and container solutions provider SkyCell. With the help of their resources, the Consortium can store the vaccines safely at a range of temperatures.
To discuss the challenges faced at the moment the Consortium organized a two-day summit which include all the experts to derive a solution.
Regarding this, Sheikh Abdullah said, “The UAE supports the COVAX initiative through a partnership with UNICEF to store vaccines at the International Humanitarian City in Dubai. It has also joined the Friends of COVAX Facility to support various vaccines efforts aimed at ensuring universal within affordable costs and in an equitable manner.”
NEEDS IN CONFLICT AREAS
Ghassan Aboud, the founder of the humanitarian organization Orient Human Relief, stresses the
fact that the vaccine providers have to deal with difficulties in providing vaccines in conflict-ridden areas and they have to overcome that.
He said, “Vaccination work may also have to be carried out amid missiles and airstrikes, and for people who mistrust the process or do not have any state identification.”
Moreover, the vulnerable population will be part of the vaccine deployment plans.
All in all, the UAE is taking significant actions to make sure everyone gets vaccinated