Malawi has been chosen among the first five African countries to benefit from the Pfizer Accord for a Healthier World announced on Wednesday during the World Economic Forum being held in Davos, Switzerland.
The Accord aims at making available Pfizer’s current and future patent-protected medicines and vaccines to 45 lower-countries across the globe.
Malawi has been chosen along Rwanda, Senegal, Ghana and Uganda.
These medicines and vaccines which are normally available in the US or EU will be provided on a not for profit basis and targets 1.2 billion people.
Speaking during the launch ceremony on Wednesday morning, President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera said for effective access to universal health coverage there is need for a cost-sharing approach between countries and financiers.
“The great thing about this Accord is that it helps low-income countries without violating their dignity and agency as people, for it is a true partnership that involves both Pfizer and countries like Malawi sharing the burden of costs and tasks in the production and delivery of supplies that will save millions of lives. This is how all global problems should be tackled,” said Chakwera.
President Chakwera said he will make sure that his government involves all relevant stakeholders so that application of the Accord becomes meaningful as he strives to ensuring a healthier Malawi.
The Accord is being championed by Medicines and Vaccines manufacturer Pfizer while Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the financiers.
On his part Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said the only way of achieving a healthier world is by making medicines and vaccines accessible for all.
“As we learned in the global covid-19 vaccine rollout, supply is only the first step to helping patients. We will work closely with global health leaders to make improvements in diagnosis, education, infrastructure, storage and more. Only when all the obstacles are overcome can we end healthcare inequities and deliver for all patients,” said Bourla.
Bill Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation expressed commitment towards seeing to it that everyone has access to drugs no matter what.
“Everyone no matter where they live should have access to the same innovative life-saving drugs and vaccines,” said Gates co-founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Through the Accord, Pfizer has committed 23 medicines and vaccines that treat infectious diseases, certain cancers and rare inflammatory diseases.
It is believed that making these medicines and vaccines available has potential to treat non-communicable and infectious diseases that claim lives of nearly 1 million people each year in the targeted countries.
On Tuesday during a WEF session on Investing in Health Equity, President Chakwera said there is a need to ensure equitable healthcare in the world, arguing that the COVID 19 pandemic has shown that public health is the bedrock of economies.
“We are all painfully aware that if the health of any nation’s citizen cannot be guaranteed it can threaten the very foundations of the economy,” he said.
He added: “We are also aware that the economies of all nations are so inextricably linked that Corona virus outbreak in the Eastern World or Monkey pox outbreak can have devastating effects on economies in the Global South.”
The Malawi leader suggested that there should be heavy investment in refilling the health system gaps and inequalities in nations like Malawi in order to stabilize the global economy.
The Pfizer Accord for Investment in Healthier World seems to be a direct response to President Chakwera’s plea.