UNICEF: $1 Billion More Needed For COVAX COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

The UNICEF on Wednesday urged countries to contribute more money to help poor countries to access Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines, saying around $1 billion was needed.

UNICEF, the world’s single largest vaccine buyer, is part of the World Health Organisation-backed COVAX programme to supply COVID-19 shots to emerging economies.

“We have been asking the world for more funding for UNICEF and our distribution to countries we still need about $1 billion,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said at Dubai’s World Government Summit.

That funding could be used to strengthen health systems in poorer nations and support the distribution of vaccines there, she said.

The COVAX initiative aims to deliver at least 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses this year, including 1.3 billion doses to lower-income countries.

Fore urged vaccine makers to sign licensing agreements so vaccines could be made locally, singling out Africa as one market that needed it.

She also said it was unlikely that the COVAX scheme would be able to cover the world in 2021.

“There is still more to do and we could do with more help and assistance,” Fore said. 
[22:33, 10/03/2021] Kenny Hod New: Silence Of Rape Victims Helping Sexual Violence Boom In Nigeria – NHRC

The silence of victims of sexual assaults has been identified by the National Human Rights Commission, as one of the reasons Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) thrive across Nigeria.

NHRC’s Executive Secretary, Tony Ojuku Esq. who disclosed this at a meeting in Rivers State, said unless victims summon the courage to report such unsavory incidents to relevant authorities, those who engage in abominable behaviors like SGBV may not stop.

In a statement made available by NHRC’s Deputy Director Public Affairs, Fatimah Agwai Mohammed, on Wednesday, Ojukwu noted that the commission was currently handing 40 related cases in the state, adding it would ensure that justice was served.

However, he advised others who were in similar situation across the country not to remain silent but be rest assured that the Commission’s panel would give them a voice as well as change the narrative of allowing sexual assaults perpetuators go free.

“Sexual and gender-based violence is a human problem which even though affects both sexes weigh heavily against women and girls.

“SGBV has been booming in Nigeria because most victims do not come out to speak for fear of stigma and discrimination, coupled with the lack of remedy for victims,” he added.

Furthermore, Ojukwu urged traditional and religious leaders to come out hard on those engaged in SGBV as that would send a strong message to others.

“Traditional and religious leaders are frustrating our fight on SGBV because they use cultural and traditional practices to settle cases which in itself encourages perpetrators to commit more sexual violence,” he added.

The UN Initiative has a mandate to end all “forms of violence against women and girls by 2030” and it has about €500 million seed funding commitment aimed at helping it achieve its objective globally.

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