John Nkengasong
John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC)

The African Union (AU) Commission on Tuesday commended China’s Jack Ma and Alibaba foundations’ multifaceted support in strengthening public health Africa, with particular emphasis on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.

The statement was made by John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), specialized healthcare agency of the 55-member pan African bloc, as he emphasized the China’s Jack Ma and Alibaba foundations’ support to Africa’s anti-COVID-19 fight, which ranges from much-needed material support to experience sharing on fighting the pandemic.

“The Jack Ma Foundation is now taking its support to public health in Africa to the next level as it collaborates with Africa CDC by holding a special webinar entitled “Global MediXChange for Combating COVID-19 (GMCC): The Experience of China” on Tuesday,” the Africa CDC said in a statement issued on Tuesday. “Partnership is the key to winning the war against COVID-19.

In our strategy we have highlighted four things: cooperation, collaboration, coordination and communication,” said Nkengasong, adding “if we do not want Africa to be the next epicenter, we must foster multi-sectoral partnerships at the community level, at the national level, at the continental level, and at the global level.” “This important collaboration is a major milestone in achieving this,” he said.

According to the Africa CDC, the webinar for combating COVID-19 across the African continent and beyond with particular emphasis on the experience of China “will enable medical experts from Africa, China and other parts of the world to share knowledge, experience and best practices for treating COVID-19.

The webinar was open to the public.”Supported by technologies and tools from Alibaba Health and Alibaba Cloud, the GMCC mainly features three main components that are digital access to epidemic prevention resources, videos and webinars, and tools for online discussions, it was noted.

Nearly 3,000 medical professionals have already joined the platform globally and thousands of medical staff from hospitals across Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe have so far participated in live exchange sessions organized by the GMCC to better understand how to respond to this new virus disease pandemic, according to the Africa CDC.

The latest collaboration between the Africa CDC and Jack Ma and Alibaba foundations is also said to be in line with the African Union Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT): Trace, Test and Track (CDC-T3), and supports implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19, it was noted.

“The new collaboration paves the way for long-term, more structured and more strategic support to public health initiatives in Africa,” the Africa CDC said.

On Monday, the Africa CDC had received the third donation of medical equipment and supplies from the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The donation, which will be distributed to all African Union (AU) member states in support of their national COVID-19 fight, includes 4.6 million masks, 500,000 swabs and test kits, 300 ventilators, 200,000 sets of protective clothing, 200,000 face shields, 2,000 temperature guns, 100 body temperature scanners, and 500,000 pairs of gloves.

“Getting diagnostics and medical equipment for COVID-19 response is a global challenge. Africa is in a fierce competition with the developed world with respect to the availability of commodities,” the Africa CDC Director said.”These donations from the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation have been an incredible initiative helping to feed the need for medical supplies by African countries,” he added.

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