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Seychelles' stance on draft WHO treaty on pandemics is positive, discussions still underway

Victoria, Seychelles | February 29, 2024, Thursday @ 17:07 in National » HEALTH | By: Alisa Uzice Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 5526
Seychelles' stance on draft WHO treaty on pandemics is positive, discussions still underway

Vidot said that "when we had vaccines, some countries would keep it to themselves." (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) 

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Seychelles, together with other member states of the World Health Organisation (WHO), is working on a treaty that will have several guidelines to better prepare the world in the event of another pandemic, a top health official said on Thursday.

The Minister for Health, Peggy Vidot, told reporters that the proposal, which has garnered criticisms from the Seychelles' public is still under discussion, and that at the moment it is still in the drafting phase.

She said that the document is subject to change since it is still being drafted and will have a general set of principles that respects human rights and the sovereignty of nations while still supporting solidarity and transparency.

Vidot said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a dissonance between the different countries and many challenges because of it.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, there were some countries that chose not to share crucial information; when we had vaccines, some countries would keep it to themselves. This document will bring forward more equitable solutions at a global level," she said.

The Minister for Transport, Anthony Derjacques, a sector that dealt closely with the Ministry of Health during the pandemic, was also there as a lawyer.

"This proposal covers the aspect of sovereignty and human rights. It states that the final agreement shall be in accordance with applicable laws and the Constitution. This ensures, that if adopted, the treaty should not contradict, but must be in accordance with and compatible with our laws. It should not infringe our fundamental rights and freedoms," he said.

Vidot said that once the proposal is ready it is expected to be presented during the World Health Assembly in May. Then, if Seychelles is satisfied with the final document, it will go through the normal process of presenting it to the Cabinet of Ministers and then the National Assembly, the legislative branch of the island nation.

Vidot emphasised the importance and benefits of such a proposal and said that the Seychelles' government supports the development of such an instrument. She clarified that so far there is nothing in the proposal that goes against the belief of Seychelles but maintained that should the island nation disagree with the end product, through written notice, the country may choose not to participate.

For people concerned with the proposal, the Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gedeon, said the draft document is in the public domain should anyone wish to read it and if there are any concerns to send them to the Public Health Authority.

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Tags: World Health Organisation, COVID-19, Public Health Authority

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