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Canada Denounced for Visa Denials at AIDS 2022

"Right now, if you are hosting a global health conference in US, UK, Canada, EU or Australia, you have decided that it’s acceptable to exclude people from the Global South. How global is your global health?"  -- Dr. Madhu Pai

Dozens of protesters took over the stage at the opening ceremony of the 24th International AIDS Conference in Montreal to condemn Canada’s denial of visas to “high numbers” of delegates from the Global South.

Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, President of the International AIDS Society and International Co-Chair of AIDS 2022, says her organization will re-evaluate how it organizes international conferences as a result of visa denials by the Canadian government.  "Underlying the difficulty experienced by many attendees of AIDS 2022 to enter Canada lies a broader problem of global inequities and systemic racism that significantly impacts global health."

Click here to read more.

 

Impending Famine in East Africa

The intensifying risk of famine in a number of African countries has been dangerously neglected as the world focuses on other crises.

Over 14 million people across Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are already on the verge of starvation—about half of them children. This number will rise to 20 million by September if the rains continue to fail, prices continue to rise, and world leaders don’t boost aid funding to meet the needs of people in crisis.

To learn more, click here for country-specific information and a call to action from the International Rescue Committee (IRC). 

Citizen of the Year

We were delighted to learn that GRAN member Sharon Graham has been awarded Citizen of the Year by her community, Brighton, ON.  The award was presented by Brighton mayor, Brian Ostrander, during Brighton’s Canada Day celebrations. This award honours Sharon for her many contributions within her community and beyond.  We are grateful that so many of her volunteer hours go to her work in GRAN.  Congratulations, Sharon! 

 

Canada Responds to the Hunger Crisis in SSA with Matching Fund Program

Insecurity and climate change, compounded by disruptions in supply chains for food, fertilizer and fuel caused by the war in Ukraine, are driving a humanitarian crisis that is leaving millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa in acute hunger. 

Canada recently announced a time-limited matching fund to enable humanitarian partners to provide lifesaving services. From June 15 to July 17, 2022 the Government of Canada will match, dollar for dollar, donations for hunger crisis relief in sub-Saharan Africa made by individual Canadians to member organizations of the Humanitarian Coalition, up to a maximum of $5 million.

Click here to read more.

Vaccine Equity: The Problem. The Solution.

The World Health Organization continues to shine an unflinching light on global vaccine inequity. The vast majority of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in high- and upper-middle-income countries. If these doses had instead been distributed equitably, they would have been sufficient to cover all health workers and older people around the world. The failure to share vaccines equitably is taking a toll on some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. There are enough doses of vaccines globally to drive down transmission and save many lives, if they go to the people who need them most. Click here to read more.

World Refugee Day June 20th

The Education Watch Group invites GRANs to celebrate World Refugee Day on June 20 by having a look at this beautiful online Annual Report, “Learning From Disrupted learners”, put together by the Canadian Refugee Education Council, established in 2020.  Written by 15 young refugees, this poignant anthology of stories, poems and essays will leave you inspired by their resiliency and youthful wisdom.  Although a bit lengthy, it is easy to choose one or two of the stories to read.

 

A Devastating Global Failure

Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) calls the WTO’s inability to agree on a TRIPS waiver a devastating global failure.

We are disappointed that a true intellectual property waiver, proposed in October 2020 covering all COVID-19 medical tools and including all countries, could not be agreed, even during a pandemic that has claimed more than 15 million people’s lives.” --  Dr. Christos Christou, International President of MSF

The World Trade Organiazation (WTO) concluded the 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva on June 17 with agreements on a number of issues, among them a response to emergencies, including a waiver of certain requirements concerning compulsory licensing for COVID-19 vaccines. However, this agreement falls far short of the comprehensive TRIPS waiver proposed in 2020 by India and South Africa.  Click here to read the full response from Dr. Christos Christou of Médecins sans Frontières.

 

Canada, Vaccines, and the WTO

The Canadian government’s continued reluctance to support the proposed TRIPS waiver at the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a stain on Canada’s reputation as a nation that demands fairness on the global stage. A group of prominent Canadians and global health experts are speaking out against what they see as Canada’s unwillingness to go against Big Pharma in order to improve vaccine access in poorer nations.

Will Canada finally step up for global vaccine justice during the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference taking place in Geneva this coming week? Click here to read more.

Pfizer Announces Low-Cost Drugs for 45 of World's Poorest Countries

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has announced it will supply its current and future patent-protected medicines and vaccines on a not-for-profit basis to the world’s poorest countries, as part of a new initiative announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday.  This new commitment, “An Accord for a Healthier World”, focuses on five areas: infectious diseases, cancer, inflammation, rare diseases and women’s health.  Click here to learn more.  

 

 

Try Harder: Canadian International Climate Finance

It is one of the tragedies of the climate crisis that those countries that are the least responsible for creating the crisis are suffering the most from its effects.   To address this injustice, high income nations, including Canada, promised to collectively mobilize $100 billion US annually beginning in 2020.  This goal has not yet been met.    There are three areas where high-income countries need to "try harder”: living up to their $100B per year commitment, focussing more on climate adaptation and allocating a higher percentage to grants rather than loans. To read more, click here.

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