A Call for Solidarity, Working against Racism & COVID-19

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By Larrell L. Wilkinson

On April 8, 2020, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for greater unity in efforts to combat COVID-19. Since taking office in May 2017, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General outlined five priorities for the WHO: universal health coverage; health emergencies; women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health; health impacts of climate and environmental change; and a transformed WHO. Dr. Tedros previous experiences included serving as Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012–2016 and Ethiopia’s Minister of Health from 2005–2012. Dr. Tedros holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Community Health from the University of Nottingham and a Master of Science (MSc) in Immunology of Infectious Diseases from the University of London.

Earlier today, Dr. Tedros remarked about the first 100 days of the WHO’s efforts to address COVID-19.

In his remarks on April 8, 2020 regarding WHO’s effort against COVID-19, the Director-General focused at least some of his comments on racism and unity. “I can tell you personal attacks that have been going on for more than two, three months. Abuses, or racist comments, giving me names, black or Negro. I’m proud of being black, proud of being Negro,” exclaimed Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus related to comments and threats made against him in the wake of this pandemic and questions regarding WHO’s response. He also called for solidarity in efforts to address COVID-19, stating “My message to political parties: do not politicize the virus. If you care for your people, work across party lines and ideologies.”

A lot has been learned since the reception of the first reported case of pneumonia from an unknown cause was officially received at the WHO on December 31, 2019. This case was first detected in Wuhan, China and received from the WHO Country Office in China. As more has been learned and efforts have been made, public health officials and leaders around the world have continually refined their initial and subsequent efforts to address COVID-19. The WHO is no different in their process of “learning as they address, refining towards progress.”

All of us have a role in this fight (COVID-19) that threatens our health, our humanity. Let’s work to not add to the unfortunate circumstances by exploiting differences among us. Instead, let’s build on our common humanity, show the love of Jesus Christ, and work towards solutions together.

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