Dr. Tedros A. Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO

COVID-19: WHO condemns scientists’ proposal to test vaccine in Africa

* Describes act a hangover from colonial mentality

* Says use of medical masks not for general population
Web Editor | ConsumerConnect
The leadership of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has condemned in the “strongest possible terms” two French scientists who suggested Africa be used as a testing ground for a vaccine against the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Agency report says Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO and Ethiopian national, in his remark on the scientists attempt to test vaccine on the continent, said: “Africa cannot and will not be a testing ground for any vaccine.

“We will follow all the rules to test any vaccine or therapeutics all over the world, using exactly the same rule.”

In a WHO video press conference, Dr. Ghebreyesus said: “Whether it’s in Europe, Africa, or wherever, we will use the same protocol.

“And the hangover from a colonial mentality has to stop…. WHO will not allow this to happen.”

The WHO Director-General stated that some states have recommended, or are considering the use of both medical and non-medical masks in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19, an issue raised at each WHO press conference.

In respect of this, he clarified that “first and foremost, medical masks must be prioritised for health workers on the front lines of the response.

“We know medical masks can help to protect health workers, but they’re in short supply globally.”

Ghebreyesus related that WHO was concerned that the use of medical masks by the general population could exacerbate the shortage of these specialised masks for the people who need them most.

“In some places, these shortages are putting health workers in real danger,” he said.

According to him, WHO continues to recommend the use of medical masks, respirators and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers.

He said: “In the community, we recommend the use of medical masks by people who are sick and those who are caring for a sick person at home.”

WHO has suggested wider use of medical and non-medical masks to stem the spread of the Coronavirus.

The world health body was issuing guidance and criteria to support countries in making this decision, he remarked.

“For example, countries could consider using masks in communities where other measures such as cleaning hands and physical distancing are harder to achieve because of lack of water or cramped living conditions,” said Ghebreyesus.

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