In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf called for action to address inequalities exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Madam Sirleaf discussed her participation in a letter calling for any vaccine that is developed to be available freely across the world. More than 140 leaders, including former President of Malawi and Amujae Coach Joyce Banda, President of South Africa and Chair of the African Union Cyril Ramaphosa, and Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan have signed the open letter, calling on Health Ministers at the World Health Assembly to rally behind a people’s vaccine against COVID-19:
“Governments and international partners must unite around a global guarantee which ensures that, when a safe and effective vaccine is developed, it is produced rapidly at scale and made available for all people, in all countries, free of charge. The same applies for all treatments, diagnostics, and other technologies for COVID-19.”
Madam Sirleaf also shared her experience rallying international support during the Ebola epidemic, as well as her hopes for similar collaboration in the fight against coronavirus:
“This was an extraordinary effort of alliance, cooperation, collective action, and I hope that is what we will see with COVID-19, that we are going to see global alliances improve, more collaboration.
“We live today, in an unequal world. And COVID-19, I hope, will lead to consciousness and policy action to reduce the inequities of the world, recognizing that if anyone is left behind, this becomes a threat to those that are ahead.”
Watch the full interview below.