Oxfam Calls on Health Authorities in Poor Countries to “Double up”

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-To prevent millions of deaths from COVID-19

Even though Liberia and other African countries still have fewer cases of the Coronavirus, it is, however, being predicted by the World Health Organization (WHO) that if measures are not taken to prevent further spread, it is certain that Africa will experience the worst.

Against this backdrop, Oxfam-Liberia is calling on Health Authorities in poor countries including Liberia to double their effort if they must prevent millions of death in the COVID-19 outbreak.

Oxfam in a press statement calling on the Global Emergency Plan for Public Health to immediately cancel a package of nearly $159 billion US dollars debt on poor counties to help prevent millions of deaths as a result of the Coronavirus.

“The five-point plan would enable poor countries to act appropriately to prevent the spread of the disease and build the capacity of health systems to care for those affected,” the release said.

Oxfam also said the pandemic has caused widespread suffering in rich countries, overwhelming some of the best healthcare systems in the world, adding that with the spread of the disease to many poor countries where high levels of poverty and inequality risk supercharging the disease, the public health challenges are even greater.

According to Oxfam, billions of people across the developing world do not have access to clean water or healthcare and millions live in crowded slums or refugee camps where social isolation is impossible.

The release indicated that women make up 70 percent of health workers and carry out most unpaid care work, and the impact of the outbreak will hit them the hardest.

Jose Maria Vera, Oxfam International Interim Executive Director is quoted in the release as saying, “In Mali, there are three ventilators for one million people. In Zambia, there is one doctor for 10,000 people. We know from Oxfam’s experience of fighting Ebola that with rapid action, this disease can be stopped. But we must act now and, on a scale that is never seen before.”

Oxfam said that without urgent, ambitious and historic action, the world could easily see the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War Two.

The British oriented non-governmental organization also said that doubling the health spending of the 85 poorest countries, home to nearly half the world’s population, it would cost $159 billion dollars which is less than 10 percent of the US fiscal stimulus to fight against Coronavirus.

The release said while some donor institutions have begun to increase funding, the scale has not been anywhere near the size of the challenge, and that is why Oxfam is calling for the G20 and other national governments to tackle the virus head-on by agreeing on an ambitious Global Emergency Plan for Public Health.

Oxfam, however, called for huge investment in prevention, Public health promotion, community engagement, access for humanitarian workers and provision of clean water and sanitation, especially hand washing. They also requested that  10 million new paid and protected health workers is very important together with urgent funding and equipment for local responders and humanitarians already on the ground.

According to them, all fees for health should be removed and free testing and treatment delivered, adding that governments must ensure the requisition of all private facilities. The release added that there must be Global agreement reached on vaccines and treatments to be made rapidly available to everyone who needs it free of charge because the profits of pharmaceutical corporations cannot be put ahead of the future of humanity.

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