As the world continues to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, the African Union (AU) has reaffirmed its support for the World Health Organisation (WHO), calling for solidarity and unity of purpose to overcome this "common enemy".
In a statement, AU chairperson and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa commended the leadership and management of WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for leading the global response to the pandemic.
According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, by Thursday morning over 1.4 million infections had been recorded with 88 583 deaths globally.
"The Covid-19 pandemic is already the most serious health emergency in generations, and it is far from over," Ramaphosa said.
"The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly changed our ways of life; impacted on the capacities of our health infrastructure and has disrupted the economic supply value chain with attendant negative impact on global economies.
"As the world grapples with the challenge of the coronavirus, there is a need for solidarity, unity of purpose and better coordination to ensure that we are able to overcome this common enemy."
In this context, Ramaphosa said the AU recognises and appreciates the good work that has been undertaken by the WHO.
Ramaphosa also noted "with a sense of satisfaction the various initiatives and measures that are continuously undertaken by the organisation to mitigate the spread of the pandemic such as mobilising resources, sharing real-time information and providing the technical and material support".
He also said the WHO has been an essential technical and scientific partner to the AU and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), as work continues to mitigate the pandemic, which has now reached nearly every member state.
"The African Union has seen Dr Tedros in action before when he and the world-class WHO health experts led global efforts to fight against the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo."
"In appreciation of these efforts, the African Union extends its unwavering support to the WHO and its director general."
In addition, the AU called on the international community to join hands to support the efforts of the WHO in fighting the pandemic.
"If there was a time for global unity, solidarity and cooperation, this is that time," Ramaphosa said.
"While all our countries are facing daunting and frustrating tasks to contain the spread of the pandemic, we should avoid temptation to apportion blame to any individual, institution or any country at a time when we should all be working together.
"We should work together to confront our common enemy in the form of Covid-19; and we should not allow ourselves to be distracted by anything else.
"Our success against this pandemic will only be realised through collaboration, cooperation and most importantly through global solidarity."
The AU's comments come after US President Donald Trump attacked the WHO and threatened to cut funding for the organisation.