ADDRESSING the fourth session of the inter-governmental Group of Experts (IGE) from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Prime Minister Imran Khan presented a five-point agenda to mitigate the Covid-19 impact. He proposed an equitable supply of Covid-19 vaccine to the developing countries and suspension of debt repayments for most stressed countries until the end of the pandemic.
The very statement of PM Imran Khan, in fact, is the voice of all the developing countries which are currently struggling to cope with the pandemic. Currently the process of vaccination has been started in the developed countries but it is really ironic and unfortunate that the poor and developing nations are still struggling to secure the vaccine supplies. According to the WHO itself, about thirty nine million doses of anti-Covid vaccine have been administered in at least forty nine wealthier countries but only twenty five doses have been administered in one poorer country (Guinea). There should not be such a stark discrimination especially when dealing with a pandemic on such a large scale. In fact all the countries should fight this global phenomenon with collective efforts. The big countries should take a cue from the open heartedness of China which has offered to gift half a million doses to Pakistan. The same kind of generosity should be shown by other developed countries in order to check the spread of the virus. As the vaccines have brought a ray of hope, these should not become another brick in the wall of inequality between the world of haves and have-nots. The COVAX facility was also established last April to ensure that all countries have access to the vaccine. This global promise should be fulfilled and vaccine deliveries be made to the developing world without any further delay so that lives could be saved there as well. In addition, the developing countries should also be financially supported to come out of the pandemic’s adverse impact on their economies. Not only their debt payments be suspended but they should be provided with soft loans and grants so that they could take the requisite steps to revive the economies.