MUTARE- A coalition of civic society organisations has urged government to ensure equity in access and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
This comes amid indications that government has failed to raise enough resources for a national roll out.
The Fight Inequality Alliance in Zimbabwe said the COVID-19 vaccine should be strategically funded to reach vulnerable members of society.
“Inequality is a big reality. Pandemics and disaster ‘do not kill’ what kills is poverty and inequality,” said Janet Zhou director of Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) during a virtual press conference today.
The CSO Alliance said government can effectively eradicate widening inequalities in the country, if it commits and increase public expenditure towards health care, basic social service delivery focusing on universal public services.
“We demand a publicly available people’s vaccine that is distributed in a fair and transparent manner, and strategically funded to avoid further debt contraction or servitude to big pharmaceutical companies.
“We demand the cancellation of all opaque external debts and loan Repayments and a moratorium on legitimate public debts to free up resources to meet increased public need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We demand a just and equitable distribution of the tax burden through the introduction of a wealth tax to ensure that their chest pay a fairer share of the resources required to effectively address the costs of the crisis,” reads part of the statement.
The Alliance said despite government and business failing to physically meet due to COVID-19 restrictions, conversations on what the global economic ‘recovery’ will look like after the pandemic have already started in the absence of the poor and vulnerable.
“In particular, lockdown restrictions constrain the informal economy which provides livelihoods for the working poor. Resource poor communities have struggled not only to protect themselves from infection but also to meet their livelihoods and afford live saving ventilators,” further reads the statement.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) indicates that the richest 10 percent have up to 40 percent of global income whereas the poorest 10percent earn only between 2 to 7 percent, with global inequality having increased by 11% in recent past, it could get worse.
Oxfam’s 2020 Inequality Report, which surveyed nearly 300 economists from around the world says the virus will exacerbate inequalities, gender by 56%, racial (66%), wealth (78%) and income (87%) across the world.
The Fight Inequality Alliance in Zimbabwe also raised alarm over glaring gender inequalities between men and women, as well as the food insecurity and malnutrition in children which has also become a pervasive public Health concerns for the country.
Members the alliance also include Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, Poverty Reduction Forum Trust, National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, Transparency International Zimbabwe, Action Aid, Combined Harare Residents Association, Zimbabwe National Students Union and Women and Law in Southern Africa Zimbabwe.