Communities of people living with and affected by HIV, TB, and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Civil Society Organizations working in the area of health and human rights in Kenya and Uganda have applauded the United States (US) for its decision to support a proposal for the waiver of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19.
The organizations and communities are grateful that the US has taken note of the fact that we are in a global crisis that requires extraordinary measures.
“The support of the TRIPS Waiver proposal is a strong show of commitment by the Biden-Harris administration to work with the global community in ensuring there is rapid access to affordable medical products including diagnostic kits, medical masks, other personal protective equipment, and ventilators, as well as vaccines and medicines for the prevention and treatment of patients in dire need,” they observed.
In a statement signed by the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS-Uganda), Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV and AIDS (KELIN), Kenyan Network of People Who Use Drugs (KENPUD), National Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Kenya (NEPHAK), Non-communicable Diseases Alliance Kenya (NCDAK), Pamoja TB Group and We Rise and Prosper (WRAP); the civil society organizations explain that “During a regional meeting we held on 17th to 19th March 2021, we urged both the Kenyan and Ugandan government to make use of flexibilities in the TRIPS agreement to ensure access to essential medicines. We also called upon all governments, in particular, the G7 countries to support the Waiver Proposal.”
We Must Step Up
Despite the positive steps, communities of people living with and affected by HIV, TB, and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Civil Society Organizations working in the area of health and human rights in Kenya and Uganda want more to be done. They now want the rest of the G7 and the European Union to support the Waiver Proposal to ensure equitable access to medical technologies through sharing technologies, data, know-how, patents, and other intellectual property rights across the world. It is time for the solidarity of all WTO member states and for the members to hasten deliberations on this issue.
Also, they are calling upon pharmaceutical companies and research institutions to share their technology, know-how, and intellectual property on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments through the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 Technology Access Pool.
The Kenyan and Ugandan governments are being urged to work in solidarity with other AU members and Africa CDC in engaging with pharmaceuticals to ensure local production.
“We must step up the pace to make vaccines available to all. The world needs a Peoples Vaccine, not a profit vaccine,” the CSOs and communities say.
Read the full statement at https://heps.or.ug/file-download/download/public/461