“The pandemic has highlighted the dangerous and growing inequality that exists between countries and within them,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa warned at the World Health Organization’s virtual 73rd World Health Assembly.

“Although the virus has affected both developed and developing countries, it is the poor who suffer the most,” Ramphosa said.

Ramaphosa noted that the healthcare systems of many countries are struggling, having been neglected, underfunded, or “designed to serve their select few.”

Ramaphosa is serving as the current chairperson of the African Union. He said Africa reaffirms its full support for the World Health Organization.

“The World Health Organization has been instrumental in providing guidance and support to African governments,” Ramaphosa said. “Africa is extremely vulnerable to the ravages of this virus and needs every possible support and assistance.”

Global universal healthcare: Ramaphosa called for a renewed push for the goal of global universal healthcare. “The virus has demonstrated the essential value of universal health coverage, and this is where we need full solidarity,” he said.