The fight to curb Covid-19 has created a new divide between those who have had the vaccine and those who have not. The United States, The United Kingdom and other well off countries are on their way to immunizing their entire adult population. Yet dozens of less wealthy countries have yet to receive their first dose.
This inequity is both a moral challenge and a public health crisis. "You have coverage of a hundred percent in one rich country and then, in the following day, you have importation of new variants so all your efforts become useless," warned Eduardo Samo Gudo, Scientific Director at Mozambique's National Institute of Health.
"From where we are in Africa," said Emma Ingaiza who manages a clinic in the legendary Mathare slums of Nairobi, "we would want the world out there to understand that we are equally important. That our lives also matter. We're just on the front line as much as everyone else is."
Co-host Claudia Romo Edelman, who worked on the challenge of supply of treatment and vaccine for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said the world saw this crisis coming. But the solution created by the World Health Organization and other groups, called COVAX, has been slow to raise the money from high income countries and then buy the vaccine supply it is committed to delivering to low income countries.
Roz Scourse of Doctors Without Borders says COVAX has failed and that the solution is a plan offered by South Africa, India and many countries in the global south to waive Intellectual Property rights on the new vaccines so poor and middle countries can make their own. Others, however, worry this might undermine manufacturing quality while doing nothing to solve the problem that high income countries have bought most of the current supply.
Kristina Kloberdanz, Chief Sustainability Officer for Mastercard, sponsor of Global GoalsCast, discusses Mastercard's work on global gender equity – for example by conducting annual salary reviews, closing the gender pay gap, instituted gender neutral parental leave and establishing mentorship for leadership growth.