Bangladesh urges WHO to ensure vaccines for developing countries

Foreign minister also calls on UNHCR to pressure Myanmar for sustainable repatriation of Rohingya

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – The Bangladeshi foreign minister has urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure the availability, affordability, and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines for developing countries.

In a meeting with Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO, in Geneva on Monday, AK Abdul Momen highlighted Bangladesh’s capacity to produce vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other medical equipment that would be crucial to fighting the pandemic, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Momen also briefed the WHO head on the significant positive impact of the community clinics on public health, particularly maternal and neonatal health in Bangladesh, and sought the WHO’s support for establishing more such clinics.

In a tweet, Tedros said he held positive talks with Momen on Bangladesh’s tireless response to COVID-19 and support to Rohingya refugees.

In a separate meeting with Daren Tang, the director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, Momen sought support for Bangladesh’s efforts to achieve Vision 2041 by strengthening the intellectual property sector of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh’s Vision 2041 is a national strategic plan to further develop the socio-economic standing of Bangladesh.

Momen also highlighted the importance of a temporary waiver of TRIPS obligations on the production of COVID-19 vaccines, medicines, and other medical equipment. TRIPS, or the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Both Momen and Tang agreed that intellectual property should be a tool for development, and should work as an incentive for small and medium-sized enterprises, women entrepreneurs, and the youth.

Meanwhile, in a meeting with Filippo Grandi, the director-general of UNHCR, the minister urged the UN body to pressure Myanmar for sustainable repatriation of the Rohingya from Bangladesh.

Over a million Rohingya, who fled violence in Myanmar in 2017, reside in Bangladesh.​​​​​​​


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