The World Health Organisation has appointed a Nigerian doctor as its latest Special Envoy.
WHO appointed Dr Ayoade Alakija as Special Envoy for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelarator.
This was disclosed by the UN Health Agency in a statement.
The Nigerian doctor would work closely with the former Prime Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt in this role.
WHO noted that Carl is its current special envoy for ACT-A.
Dr Alakija will be responsible for the collective advocacy for the ACT-Accelerator. She would be mobilizing support and resources to deliver on its new strategic plan and budget launched in Oct, 2021.
The WHO said that Alakija will in her capacity as Special Envoy support the following:
- Leaders of the ACT-Accelerator’s three product pillars (vaccines, tests, treatments and cross-cutting ‘connector’.
- Consult widely on the work of the ACT-Accelerator.
- Advise the Director-General, ACT-Accelerator principals and stakeholders on emerging trends.
- Represent the ACT-Accelerator in key national and international fora.
The WHO’s Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed her. He speaks on how crucial her role is in these critical times.
His words, “Dr. Alakija joins the ACT-Accelerator at a critical moment in the global COVID-19 response, where the emergence of new variants of concern and missed global coverage targets leave large swathes of the world’s population unvaccinated, untested and untreated.
“The need for equitable access to vaccines, testing, treatments and personal protective equipment remains vitally important to bringing an end to the acute phase of the pandemic.
“The ACT-Accelerator partnership, a coalition of leading public health organisations, is the only global initiative offering an integrated, end-to-end solution to expedite the end of the pandemic through the accelerated development and equitable distribution of vaccines, tests and treatments.
“Dr. Alakija brings a tremendous track record in advocating for equitable access to vaccines, tests and treatments, especially for Africa.
“She joins us at a critical juncture in the fight against COVID-19, with the Omicron variant threatening to further constrain equitable access to vaccines, just as the pace of supply was improving.
“We are very much looking forward to working with her to advocate for the full financing of the ACT Accelerator, and to meeting the global targets for COVID-19 vaccination, testing and treatment.”
Alakija accepted her role while stressing on the importance of a powerful shift.
She described this shift as an inclusive and accountable way in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WHO Envoy said this would affect the impact of the deadly disease.
“This is a pivotal opportunity for that shift to happen. The collective voices, energy and resources of communities, researchers, scientists, private sector and political leadership must be galvanised and deployed with courage to ensure that we vaccinate the world, strengthen our public health systems, reimagine pandemic preparedness and ensure that we stop the current injustice and ongoing waves of death in its tracks.
“This is within reach, but only if a life in Mumbai matters as much as a life in Brussels. If a life in Sao Paulo matters as much as a life in Geneva, and if a life in Harare matters as much as a life in Washington DC.
“I come to this role to serve and to be part of a team that will ensure that the fruits of our collective work bring meaningful access and dignity in health in this pandemic that is felt in every village, town and city,” she said.
Meet the latest Nigerian WHO Envoy
Dr Ayoade Alakija is a medical doctor. She also has a Master’s from The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in Public Health and Epidemiology.
She is a global health leader and activist. Her laudable achievement is coordinating responses in the pandemic. This she achieved through deploying diplomacy by bringing the north and south together.
Her previous roles are:
- Chief Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria.
- Leader of the Oslo Humanitarian Conference for Nigeria and Lake Chad region.
- In Fiji she worked closely with the WHO and UNICEF.
Source: PUNCH HealthWise