Anglican Archbishop of Southern Africa Thabo Makgoba says it is possible for the pharmaceutical industry in Africa to develop COVID-19  vaccines instead of importing more.

Makgoba delivered the Via Dolorosa Sermon during a Virtual Good Friday Service of the South African Council of Churches (SACC).

The aim of the virtual service, which was broadcast on SABC 2, was to honour frontline healthcare workers who died of COVID-19 related complications since last year.

Makgoba explains, “Let us challenge the pharmaceutical industry in Africa to manufacture vaccines ourselves. I’m sure we can make more drugs ourselves instead of importing them. Let us also challenge vaccine nationalism. You can’t put a flag and hope the virus will not cross borders. Let us challenge what I refer to as vaccine Apartheid, practiced by those who play God and determine who is condemned to suffer and to die on the cross of coronavirus.”

SA’s vaccine rollout

Makgoba also called on citizens to question the transparency of the rollout of coronavirus vaccines in South Africa.

“Let us challenge our government to be transparent and fair in the rollout of vaccines. Although they will not do away with COVID-19, they will help us as humanity to cope better with COVID-19. And let us take those vaccines as soon as they become available. Equally let us join the voices of those who are calling for vaccines to be free or at least affordable, safe and accessible.”

Tigray and Cabo Delgado issues

Makgoba also challenged South Africans to speak out against the atrocities in the Tigray province of Ethiopia and in Cabo Delgado in Mozambique.

“Let us renew our resolve that we will speak out and really speak up for the people of Cabo Delgado in Mozambique and for the people of Tigray in Ethiopia. Let us speak out on the issues of the world’s climate, for the challenges in climate are impacting most severely to those who are contributing least to these changes.”

Healthcare workers four times more at risk to contract COVID-19

Meanwhile, the founder of the Healthcare Heroes Memorial Dr Maggie Mojapelo says healthcare workers are four times more at risk of contracting the coronavirus than ordinary citizens. She was presenting the memorial of more than 600 healthcare workers who succumbed to COVID-19 in South Africa since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The Heroes Memorial was presented in a Virtual Good Friday Service on SABC 2 hosted by the South African Council of Churches.

“Amid the coronavirus wrath that was ravaging the world, armed with our visors and masks and our scrubs, we went to the frontline like soldiers. We left our families and we went to the frontline to confront the invisible coronavirus. And indeed like any other wars, some of us didn’t come back and some of us came back. And today we are humbled. Deeply humbled by the church formations to share our pain. We are humbled to present to you a year later, with nothing. With no one having being in the frontline live. We are saddened and heartbroken and in pain to show with almost 650 healthcare workers who have lost their lives. And we know that healthcare workers during this pandemic, we have got four times chance than ordinary citizens to contract the COVID-19 because we are there in the frontline.”