Nyusi said on Friday that ministers of health from the 16 SADC countries that make up the regional bloc should urgently consider establishing a mechanism to facilitate joint acquisition and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
“In this regard, we recommend the SADC Committee of Ministers of Health to establish a strong regional collaborative strategy which pools resources together to urgently acquire the vaccine for distribution to our citizens setting priorities in accordance with the level of risk,” Nyusi, who is the current SADC chairman, said in a statement.
He bemoaned the fact that SADC was the African region hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with almost all the member states reporting spikes in infections.
“In fact, more than 50 percent of all new daily infections of COVID-19 on (the) African continent have been reported in the SADC region,” the Mozambican leader said.
He revealed that in the first two weeks of January 2021, the new confirmed COVID-19 cases in SADC stood at 346,010, accounting for 22 percent of the total number of cases registered since the beginning of the pandemic in the region in March last year.
There is a growing concern that infections are being driven in part by a new strain of coronavirus known as 501.V2 which has so far been reported in three SADC countries, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
This has placed a strain on the region’s health sector, “and the situation is expected to worsen in the short term.”
He called on SADC countries to intensify cooperation and collaboration through increased data sharing, policy harmonisation and standardisation, pooled procurement of essential medical and non-medical equipment to address the pandemic.