Wednesday, April 24, 2024

WHO chief lauds Mia for vaccine push

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The director general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday congratulated Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley for leading the fight against dangerous diseases facing the globe, and for smaller countries to have better access to vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the former Ethiopian minister of foreign affairs, was speaking moments after he was conferred the honorary Freedom of Barbados Medal for the part he played in helping Barbados battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a brief speech during yesterday’s National Humanitarian Awards Ceremony held under overcast skies at Kensington Oval, Ghebreyesus said Mottley, in her position as chair of the Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, had been working hard to protect the planet.

“You have provided exceptional leadership on one of the most important and pressing threats to global health. You have also been a vocal advocate about the existential threat of climate change and you have been a powerful voice for vaccine equity.”

Ghebreyesus said he distinctly remembered a telephone conversation he had with the Prime Minister last year when vaccines were approved but Barbados and most other CARICOM nations were facing great difficulties in procuring the drugs.

“You were determined to knock on every door to get vaccines for Bajans, and you wanted to talk to me and those at all levels to understand the problems. This is rare in a leader. You didn’t stand on protocol; you just wanted to talk to anyone who would deliver results.” (BA)

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