Thursday, July 8, 2021 | 10:00 – 11:00 am PDT
Virtual | Open to All
While COVID-19 vaccines continue to be usurped by wealthier nations, public health experts across the African continent are sounding the alarm, voicing urgent warnings of a building wave of COVID-19 cases. Chief among these experts is Dr. Ayoade Alakija, co-chair of the Africa Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance, who advocates for equal access to the same vaccines rich countries have been utilizing to beat back their case numbers. Wealthier nations have preordered up to 10x the number of vaccines needed for their populations. Meanwhile, African nations have been left to depend on initiatives like COVAX, whose initial promise of vaccinating 20% of populations in low-income nations does not come close to herd immunity levels, and shared doses from wealthier nations, whose recent pledges too only cover a fraction of the number of vaccines needed to prevent a wide-spread health crisis like that seen recently in India.
Dr. Alakija brings a wealth of experience to her role as Co-chair of the Africa Union Africa Vaccine Delivery Alliance for COVID-19. As Nigeria’s former Chief Humanitarian Coordinator she led and coordinated the national and international response to the 2017 Boko Haram insurgency in Northeastern Nigeria. Dr. Alakija is accustomed to dealing with urgent circumstances and is skilled in bringing attention to humanitarian crises, but she has never let this get in the way of her passion for uplifting women’s voices. Firmly believing that women’s leadership in public health is essential to delivering health outcomes, she is a force in advocating for women to speak, lead, and be heard.
In this Global Conversation, Dr. Ayoade Alakija will sit down with Paul Costello, senior communications advisor to Stanford’s Center for Innovation in Global Health and an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Medicine. Together, they will discuss the colonial roots that have put low- and middle-income countries at the back of the COVID-19 vaccine line, what needs to be done now to prevent an African health catastrophe, and how Dr. Alakija’s career has prepared her to advocate for this unique crisis.