The Africa CDC and the Mastercard Foundation have entered a new phase of their partnership on the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative in the aftermath of WHO’s declaration of the end of COVID-19 pandemic as a public health emergency of international concern. The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative, a bold and unprecedented $1.5 billion partnership, was launched in June 2021. This innovative and ground-breaking partnership aimed to purchase COVID-19 vaccines, roll out vaccinations, build the vaccine manufacturing workforce for the continent, and strengthen the Africa CDC to ensure long-term health security for Africa.
Unprecedented in scale, speed and inclusion of African organisations, the partnership has contributed to the continent’s current vaccination rate of 53 per cent of the target population, up from just 3 per cent at the start of the initiative. The partnership has also trained, equipped, and deployed 38,000 health workers, creating a robust frontline in safeguarding public health locally. It has provided job opportunities for 23,000 individuals and integrated over 600 COVID-19 vaccination centres into healthcare systems. Additionally, this initiative led to the expansion of genomic testing capabilities from seven to 40 laboratories across the continent.
The review of Phase 1 of this initiative, among fifteen implementing partners across 29 countries, conducted by Deloitte, indicates that the vast majority of funds disbursed were used effectively and as intended. Likewise, ongoing monitoring by KPMG has confirmed that partners not only showed strength in programmatic results but also improved the institutional capacity for greater sustainability and institutional resilience.
“Our Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative with the Mastercard Foundation has shown the power of respectful and action-oriented partnerships rooted in collaboration, coordination and systems strengthening. The experience and learnings from Phase I will enable us to move with greater speed and scale to deliver with accelerated impact to our member states” said Dr. Jean Kaseya, Director General of the Africa CDC.
In its second phase, the partnership will expand its scope and scale, focusing on completing the vaccination of healthcare workers and vulnerable groups, building a robust workforce of community health workers, ensuring pandemic preparedness by bolstering national public health institutions, laboratory capacities, data access and quality, local manufacturing of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, and continuing strengthening of Africa CDC.
“While the global pandemic may be declared over, the need to continue investing in our health systems, build our workforce and prepare for future pandemics remains urgent. This partnership will ensure that we have strong health institutions and systems. We aim to enable thousands of young people to build their careers in healthcare and contribute to improving lives in Africa,” said Reeta Roy, President, and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation.
The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative stands out as a testament to the power of African-led health solutions. As it progresses to its next phase, partnerships will continue to play a crucial role in shaping a New Public Health Order for Africa. Africa CDC and the Mastercard Foundation remain committed to improving the health and well-being of all Africans.