By Ajuma Edwina Ogiri
In a renewed effort to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, the commonwealth health ministers have endorsed the removal of fees for coronavirus patients’ tests and treatment, especially for migrants and refugees.
The ministers also agreed to create a voluntary mechanism to share and distribute extra medical supplies, including ventilators and testing kits.
The decisions were contained in a statement released at the end of the annual Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting.
“At this critical moment, invigorated by our common pain and concern, Commonwealth countries have come together to provide the salve we need to deliver a coordinated multilateral response that will help thwart the pandemic and keep our citizens safe,” Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said.
The health ministers backed the need for unified action to recover from the economic turmoil accompanying the pandemic, while addressing critical health challenges and health systems’ vulnerability, particularly to recurring climate-related events.
They pledged to keep essential health services running for non-COVID-19 patients with a critical non-communicable or infectious disease while dealing with an influx of coronavirus cases.
Globally, around 4.7 million coronavirus cases have been reported; half a million of these are in the Commonwealth.
Persecondnews reports that the fast-spreading virus has contracted economies, shattered income streams and forced millions of people to stay indoors.