January 31, 2021

WMA calls for international co-operation against COVID-19

WMA calls for international co-operation against COVID-19

Warns against egotism, nationalism

Warns against egotism, nationalism

By Chioma Obinna

The World Medical Association on Sunday called for international cooperation in the fight against COVId-19, warning that now was not the time for egotisms and nationalism.

Speaking in Vienna during an award ceremony to honour physicians around the world for their fight against the pandemic, Secretary-General of the WMA, Dr Otmar Kloiber stressed the need for international co-operation.

Klober said international co-operation was key to winning the war against the virus.

‘Together we have been able to work on strategies to mitigate the pandemic’s consequences and develop therapies and vaccines. Alone, no nation would be able to cope; no scientist would make the break-through, no doctor could provide the necessary care.

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”Cooperation, international cooperation is the key. And as we progress together, we have to share. To leave no one behind, no frail person, no frail state. Now is not the time for egotisms and nationalism.’

He urged individuals to help medical doctors and other health workers by keeping to the none pharmaceutical protocols.

”You can help your doctors, nurses, and other caregivers: Reduce contacts, maintain distance, wear masks, follow hygiene rules, and most important: get vaccinated. This is our best and only chance to get back what is worth calling a “normal life”’.

”Physicians have been vocal advocates for their patients and their colleagues in calling for adequate personal protective equipment, improved access to hospital care, equipment, and life-saving treatments, rapid deployment of vaccines, and responsible social policies to reduce the burden of disease, save lives, and bring an end to this devastating pandemic’.

Kloiber also criticised governments for short-sighted cuts in health care spending, which was now leading to ‘a deadly payback’ of many deaths and damaged economies.

‘Stronger health care systems are better than weaker ones. Universal health coverage is even more critical in times of pandemics. High-quality health care accessible for all requires proper investment, meaningful financing, and resilient reserve capacities. Over the past years, we may have made some savings in streamlining the health care systems for strict cost-efficiency. We have even squeezed some health care systems to the minimum with austerity measures.

‘These have been short-sighted economic strategies, which have led to a deadly payback with so many lives lost and tremendous damage to our economies.’

On his part, WMA President Dr. David Barbe said: ‘Physicians have demonstrated their professionalism by willingly placing themselves in grave personal danger by caring for patients with COVID-19 – often under less-than-ideal conditions. Untold tens of thousands have become ill and thousands have died as a result of their commitment to their patients and society.

The Golden Arrow Award was presented to the WMA at the 18th Vienna Congress. The award recognises the achievements of people for their life’s work and of institutions for their social relevance.

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Previous winners include several Nobel Laureates, as well as former Presidents of Israel and South Africa. The award was the highlight of the two-day Congress, held under the patronage of the Chancellor of the Austrian Republic. During the Congress, international medical and scientific experts were discussing life after the pandemic.

Tributes to the medical profession were paid by several speakers.

Speaking, former President of the Czech Republic, ‘Václav Klaus thanked doctors all over the world for their services.

Nobel Laureate and Vice Chairman of the award advisory board, Dan Shechtman, said ‘Doctors are part of our life infrastructure. They are there when we need them. And we need them often. The medical profession is at the forefront of the war on the virus. For us, for our health and our freedom’.

Vanguard News Nigeria