The Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has stated that “Africa can’t and won’t be a testing ground for any vaccine,” During a press briefing he called the suggestion a hangover from the “colonial mentality”.

“It was a disgrace, appalling, to hear during the 21st Century, to hear from scientists, that kind of remark. We condemn this in the strongest terms possible, and we assure you that this will not happen,” the WHO Director-General added.

During an interview on French television channel LCI, Jean-Paul Mira, the head of the intensive care unit at the Cochin hospital in Paris suggested that the Coronavirus vaccine should be tested in Africa

“If I could be provocative, should we not do this study in Africa where there are no masks, treatment or intensive care, a little bit like it’s done, by the way, for certain AIDS studies or with prostitutes?” he asked and added that “We try things because we know that they are highly exposed and they don’t protect themselves,”.

In response, The research director, Camille Locht of Inserm said “You are right. And by the way, we are in the process of thinking in parallel about a study in Africa … That doesn’t prevent us, in parallel, from also thinking about a study in Europe and in Australia.”

Millions of people across Africa and the world have been outraged by the pair’s suggestion and have taken to social media to condemn the statement. The hashtag #AfricansAreNotLabRats has been trending on Twitter and many campaigns have been launched especially on Facebook to condemn the suggestion. A Petition posted on calling on the French doctors to be dismissed has been signed by over 4000 people


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