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US mending ties with WHO a major boost for global health, says WHO Africa

Newly inaugurated US President Joe Biden has halted a process started by his predecessor Donald Trump last year to withdraw from the WHO.

US President Joe Biden delivers his inauguration speech after being sworn in as the 46th US President on 20 January 2021, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Picture: Patrick Semansky/POOL/AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The World Health Organization (WHO) Africa on Thursday said America mending ties with the organisation was a major boost for global public health.

Newly inaugurated US President Joe Biden has halted a process started by his predecessor Donald Trump last year to withdraw from the WHO.

ALSO READ: US virus deaths top WWII fatalities as Biden warns worst yet to come

With his country in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic and Johns Hopkins University citing more than 406,000 COVID-19 deaths, the United States will also join the WHO's COVAX alliance.

WHO Regional Director doctor Matshidiso Moeti said the US being the global health body's biggest financer, divorcing the organisation would've had huge financial implications on the work they do.

“Them joining COVAX is also very important...it's a signal of a wealthy nation following that principle of equity and global solidarity and contributing in various ways, including financially, to support other countries to have access to these important tools.”

ALSO READ: World facing 'catastrophic' moral failure on vaccines - WHO chief

During a media briefing on Thursday, Moeti also reiterated the importance of global solidarity to make vaccines accessible to all nations.

“What we are seeing now globally is not what we had hoped for; so 'we' first and not 'me' first is the only way to end the pandemic. Vaccine hoarding by countries can only prolong the ordeal and delay the recovery for Africa and also for the whole world.”

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