Ms. Parvanta, when was the last time you were in Africa?

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Volunteer

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I was in Ivory Coast in April 2019.

That was my last assignment before Corona.

Now in January I am planning a mission in Yemen.

With Doctors Without Borders, we are active in more than 70 countries.

Corona made the need even greater.

What is the corona situation on site?

That is hard to say.

We have just got increasing numbers again in Uganda and South Africa.

The problem is that there is a lack of testing capacity in many countries.

Even in clinics, it is difficult to get tested.

In other words, we don't have any numbers to really be able to say: How is the spread?

How many people have the virus?

How many are dying from this virus?

In addition, the clinics are sometimes unable to guarantee the care of corona patients.

In many clinics, oxygen supply is not possible and there are not enough intensive care units.

In many African countries, the vaccination rate is below five percent, and the COVAX initiative should ensure that poorer countries also receive vaccines.

How does the distribution work?

The idea of ​​COVAX was that vaccines should be distributed fairly and in solidarity around the world in order to vaccinate medical staff and people who are particularly at risk across the world by the end of 2021. In African countries the population is very young, which means that they may be better able to cope with a corona infection, but we also have very different diseases in these countries than in Germany that weaken the immune system such as HIV, tuberculosis, malnutrition. They make corona disease more dangerous.

In Germany, 70 percent of people are now vaccinated, in some African countries not even two percent.

One of the reasons for this is that COVAX did not get enough vaccines.

Individual nation states have signed contracts with the pharmaceutical companies, which has resulted in richer countries receiving 80 percent of the vaccines.

So COVAX had no chance at all to care for medical staff and everyone who is at risk.

But also the donations, the transfer of vaccines to COVAX has progressed incredibly slowly, very uncoordinated, and in some cases also regulated by the pharmaceutical companies.

How is vaccination going on site?

Unfortunately, in some countries vaccine donations arrive at relatively short notice, and the expiry date is often not far away.

They then have to be vaccinated very quickly.

But we are seeing in Germany in particular that a vaccination campaign cannot be carried out so quickly.

And then poorer countries are expected to distribute the vaccines quickly.

It's not just about vaccines, it's also about medical supplies.

Disinfectants and syringes are also required for vaccination;

there is a lack of test facilities and protective equipment.

Not only Doctors Without Borders is demanding that vaccine patents be suspended.

But is there any capacity for vaccine production in poorer countries?

The capacities and qualifications are also available in the south.

The only thing missing is the will of the North.

The initiative comes from South Africa and India.

India has been supplying the world with medicines and vaccines for years.

There are also companies in South Africa that manufacture drugs there.

More than 100 countries now support the release of patents, including the USA, Australia and Brazil.

Whoever does not participate is the European Union.

Germany in particular is blocking this.

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