Access to good health care and proper medication is a problem for many countries. Nearly two billion people around the world do not have access to needed medication. This is due to issues such as accessibility, affordability and availability. Countries in poverty suffer the most from these difficulties, hitting the poorest of the population the hardest. But Pfizer, the drug manufacturer, is helping by taking a step forward to help level the playing field in accessibility to medication. Recently Pfizer announced a new initiative, “An Accord for a Healthier World.” The Accord will donate patented medicines and vaccines on a non-profit basis to some of the poorest countries in the world, helping 1.2 billion people in 45 low- and lower-middle-income countries.
Medicine Accessibility for Those in Poverty
The recent pandemic showcased problems when it comes to having medicine and vaccines available and ready for the public. But having a shortage of medication is only a piece of the puzzle. Improvements are needed in areas including education, infrastructure, storage and diagnosis in order to balance health inequities around the world. “Inequities are everywhere. You can pick any disease and you will find inequities,” says Aida Habtezion M.D., Pfizer’s Chief Medical Officer.
Rwanda, Ghana, Senegal, Malawi and Uganda are the first countries to participate in the Accord. Eventually, the Accord will provide medication for 27 low-income countries and 18 lower-middle-income countries. Pfizer will assess best practices in providing medical infrastructure, health education and diagnosis in the first five countries so it can make improvements when it rolls out the program in other countries.
Pfizer Foundation is Helping Elsewhere in Africa
The Pfizer Foundation has also recently committed to funding three separate humanitarian organizations that are helping with the refugee crisis in African countries. International Medical Corps, the International Rescue Committee, and World Vision are “working tirelessly to provide essential health care to the world’s most marginalized people” according to Caroline Roan, president of the Pfizer Foundation and Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Pfizer.
All three of these organizations have their own roles to play in this cooperation. The International Medical Corps will focus on mobile health outreach and strengthening the community health center in the Central African Republic (CAR) in order to give nutrition and health services to those displaced. This includes 20% of the total population in CAR at the moment. The International Rescue Committee will aid in improving the quantity and quality of immunization coverage in the Hagadera refugee camp in Kenya. The camp currently houses 83,000 refugees. World Vision will be helping in CAR as well as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to host people who cannot get access to healthcare. It will also work to increase protection for displaced children.
Beyond Donating Funds
These new initiatives are examples of how Pfizer is making a difference in the world, maximizing its resources as well as teaming up with other organizations. Eradicating poverty and its many repercussions takes more than just donating to the cause, but instead, it takes extensive research, follow-through and coordination to see how to solve the problem most effectively.
– Kelsy Jensen