The problem has been the supply side,” said Baryomunsi, who is also an epidemiologist. “We have the money but we simply can’t get the vaccine. This is a challenge of access and equity. We have to rely on the western world and the western world has focused on its population. The impression is that people there don’t care about Africans.”
Uganda, which successfully repressed earlier waves of infection, has like other countries across Africa risked significant economic damage by imposing another severe lockdown.
“There was complacency that set in with the population and then a new variant that was much more aggressive,” Baryomunsi told the Guardian. “We have lost many people. The good news is that we have started to bring down infections.”
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s director for Africa, told reporters the continent had just marked its most dire pandemic week ever. “But the worst is yet to come as the fast-moving third wave continues to gain speed and new ground,” she said.
In the seven days to Thursday, the continent recorded 251,000 cases, a 21% increase. So far only 1.6% of vaccine doses administered globally have been given in Africa, and less than 2% of its population vaccinated.