Remarks by UN Resident Coordinator, Dr. Coumba Mar Gadio on the launch of the National Vaccination Campaign on COVID-19: 14 April 2021

Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Jonas Chanda, MP
Permanent Secretary-Technical Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr Kennedy Malama

  • Your Excellencies, ambassadors and representatives from the cooperating partners
  • Provincial Health Director, Dr Consity Mwale
  • Hospital Superintendent
  • United Nations colleagues, senior officials, members of the press, ladies and gentlemen.

Honourable Minister, on Monday of this week we witnessed a milestone moment with the arrival of the first consignment of COVID-19 vaccines to Zambia. And less than 48 hours later, what a privilege to be here today to witness the launch of the national vaccination campaign and the very first vaccinations. Just three weeks since Cabinet approved the deployment of vaccines to Zambia and with an incredible amount of hard work under the leadership of the Ministry of Health we are here today.

Let me seize this opportunity to acknowledge and congratulate once more, the Government of Zambia under the leadership of Dr. Edgar Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, for the strong multisectoral engagement in the fight against the COVID19 Pandemic including in bringing the vaccines in the country.

That we are here today is testament to the incredible power of partnership, notably through the COVAX Facility, a global multi-lateral initiative co-led by Gavi, CEPI, and the World Health Organization, working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, as well as civil society organisations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others.

Let me thank the many governments, institutions and private sector organisations, many represented here today and online, who have made the COVAX Facility possible through their generous support. We must be One World Protected.  

The COVAX Facility is providing these 228,000 doses to Zambia – with more deliveries to come. The goal is to ensure that these safe and effective vaccines are not just for the richest nations. Vaccine equity is a moral test of global solidarity. But equally, the world will not be safe until everyone is safe. Immunised populations are better placed to restart their lives, restart their economies, restart tourism, and protect development gains.

Honourable Minister, this is a campaign that will require the contribution of every health worker, every traditional and religious leader, every influencer, every citizen, to encourage those around them to join the campaign when their turn comes. Let me say very clearly – Vaccines Work. Yes, COVID-19 is real. It is dangerous. It comes in waves, each one generally more dangerous than the last. And it can be stopped. Through the Five Golden rules and now vaccinations, we have what we need to bring an end to the pandemic. These vaccines bring hope and protection.

Honourable Minister,  Today is a historic moment for Zambia, and I have no doubt that what we start today will be saving precious  lives in the weeks and months to come. Let me pledge the continued and full support of the United Nations family to the Ministry of Health in this life-saving work.

Thank you.


Speech by
Coumba Mar Gadio
Resident Coordinator
Coumba Mar Gadio, PhD
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Health Organization