Death is in Mourning: a street performance to urge G20 leaders to take decisive actions to end the COVID-19 pandemic
AHF actinists carried out “Death is in Mourning” a street performance in Mexico City to urge G20 leaders to ensure global COVID-19 vaccine access by pushing vaccine makers to share know-how to boost worldwide production
Inequity is alarming: Nearly 50% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine—yet only 3% of people in low- and middle-income countries have received at least one dose.
If vaccinations continue at the current pace, low-income countries will be waiting until approximately 2041 to vaccinate 70% of their populations.
MEXICO CITY (October 27 2021) As part of a global action held in cities such as Amsterdam, Kiev, Brussels, London and Atlanta, a group of activists carried out the performance “Death is in Mourning” in the streets of Mexico City to urge G20 leaders to use their summit this week to commit to real action on global COVID-19 vaccine access, including pushing vaccine makers to share their know-how and technology to boost worldwide production. The performance is part of the global Vaccinate Our World (VOW) call-to-action led by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF).
“’Death is in Mourning’ – for COVID-19 has left a painful mark in Latin America at a time when our traditional celebration of death and remembering the souls of the departed has changed. It pains us all in our culture and identity,” said Dr. Patricia Campos, AHF Latin America and the Caribbean Bureau Chief. “The upcoming G20 Summit is an opportunity for world leaders to finally turn the tide of the pandemic by ensuring vaccine access for the entire world, which starts with waiving patents for COVID-19 vaccines and ensuring technology transfers from drug companies. They must work to lessen the suffering of millions of people in hard-hit regions like Latin America and put the world on the road to recovery.”
Approximately 76% of the 3.8 billion vaccine doses administered globally have been in wealthy countries, with only 3% of people in low- and middle-income countries getting at least one shot. If vaccinations continue at the current pace, low-income countries will be waiting until approximately 2041 to vaccinate
70% of their populations. The pandemic also erased at least an estimated $4 trillion in economic output in 2020 alone, plunging billions more people into poverty. A report from the Brookings Institution expects that the developing world will account for around 69% of all global deaths.
“While vaccination programs are advancing, many regions and countries are still behind,” said Terri Ford, Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy for AHF. “The virus, as the world has seen, knows no borders. If transmission continues around the world, dangerous variants that are more resistant to current vaccines could appear, necessitating more lockdowns, prolonging the pandemic and further devastating the economies of already fragile nations. Low- and middle-income countries need G20 leaders to boost production everywhere, not just in a handful of wealthy countries.”
“COVID-19 has left more than 4.9 million dead globally, and 31% of those deaths occurred in Latin America. That’s not fair,” said Dr. Jorge Saavedra, Executive Director of the AHF Institute for Global Public Health at the University of Miami and Global Public Health Ambassador for AHF. “This shows the disparities low- and middle-income countries have faced during the pandemic and is the difference between life and death for millions who live in poverty—with no information, little protection measures, and with economic and social vulnerabilities that worsen the situation.”
To call attention to these grave issues, the Vaccinate Our World campaign, with the endorsement of 500 organizations globally, organized the performance “Death is in Mourning.” The artistic piece was directed by Mexican artist Edgar Olguín, who also created the #Danzatrinas series that has traveled to Moscow, Beijing, El Salvador, and soon to New York.
The VOW call-to-action calls on G20 leaders to take the following actions to urgently mitigate the effects of the pandemic and Vaccinate Our World:
- Support patent waivers on COVID-19 vaccines and technology transfers to developing countries to increase regional vaccine production and Vaccinate Our World.
- Increase access to genomic sequencing technology so that all countries can effectively monitor the emergence and spread of new SARS-CoV-2 variants.
- Allocate at least 100 billion USD, enough to secure sufficient doses to Vaccinate Our World now.
- Commit to global cooperation as the only way to address pandemics – no country is safe until all countries are protected.
- Guarantee 100% transparency between countries: the exchange of all information and data related to global public health is essential to face this and future pandemics.
- Expand the mandate of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to establish it as the primary funding mechanism to combat current and future pandemics.
- Draft a new Global Public Health Convention to serve as the worldwide health governance system to rapidly respond to future outbreaks and pandemics.
“Facing the current crisis, there is a unique opportunity to redesign the entire architecture of global public health. This transformation must rely on three founding principles: transparency, accountability, and cooperation. A new Global Public Health Convention must be promulgated to fit the needs of today and the future,” said Dr. Saavedra, coauthor of A Global Public Health Convention for the 21st Century, published by the prestigious The Lancet Public Health journal.
He further stresses that “the Global Public Health Convention must serve as the basis for an equitable and responsive global health architecture that is capable of rapidly delivering life-saving results during international health emergencies and outbreaks.”
“It has to be imbued with a strong mandate that influences the right decisions to overcome problems such as hoarding and inequalities in access to vaccines and medicines, and the reluctance of some countries
to share epidemiological data in a transparent and timely manner for the benefit and health security of all nations,” added Dr. Saavedra.
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AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.6 million clients in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Paciﬁc Region and Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, ﬁnd us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare For Latin América an The Caribbean go to https://ahﬂatamycaribe.org