ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, June 29, 2020/ — H.E. Ambassador Ranieri Sabatucci, Head of the EU Delegation to the African Union, and Dr John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, announced the COVID-19 support package yesterday.
“Global solidarity is key to fighting COVID-19. This is why in these difficult times partnership between Team Europe and the African Union is as strong and reliable as ever” said Ambassador Ranieri Sabatucci. “The European experience is teaching us that a continental approach is essential to fight COVID-19 and the Africa CDC is in a privileged position to coordinate a continental response for Africa, thanks to its solid experience in dealing with epidemics.”
With this contribution, Africa CDC will provide in-country training on surveillance to healthcare workers and rapid responders in 30 African Union Member States, prioritizing those with significant community transmission. In the next four months, Africa CDC will support at least 90 in-country cascade and 40 virtual training workshops, and the deployment of 3000 community healthcare workers in these 30 countries to enhance their capacity for early detection, effective monitoring, and contact tracing so they can contain the spread of the virus. It will support the deployment of 180 rapid responders with expertise in surveillance, laboratory, and case management to 25 other African Union Member States to address the immediate needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, the fund will contribute to strengthening the coordination function of the Africa Continental Taskforce for Coronavirus (AFTCOR), an implementing instrument of the Joint Continental Strategy, and implementation of the Test, Trace and Treat initiative, also known as the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT).
“This pandemic is a global challenge and it requires everybody working together with a unique level of cooperation. We need to quickly scale up testing and contact tracing, we must deploy more healthcare workers and keep feeding the supply chain component. All these require strong partnerships. We deeply appreciate this timely contribution by the European Union towards achieving the goals of PACT in Africa,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC.
The EUR 10 million grant provided by Team Europe will be followed in the coming weeks by additional fund (at least EUR 15 million) and/or material support to reinforce Africa’s response to the pandemic.
Africa CDC is the lead institution for Africa’s preparedness and response to COVID-19. As a specialized technical institution of the African Union and with a mandate to safeguard the health of Africa, Africa CDC supports all Member States in their efforts to effectively respond to disease threats. Given the continent’s fragile health systems and economic situation, the pandemic is already having a heavy toll on Africa. Therefore, Africa needs extraordinary efforts at all levels by all stakeholders to prevent further transmission, deaths and social and economic harm resulting from COVID-19.
The European Union is at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 crisis in Europe and globally. Europe’s strong partnerships around the world are thus even more relevant in tackling this pandemic and its consequences. The EU’s response follows a Team Europe approach, which combines resources from the EU, its Member States, and financial institutions, particularly the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The pledged amount to support partner countries in the fight against COVID-19 is EUR 20 billion, of which about EUR 5 billion is foreseen for Africa.
The Africa continental response is in synergy with country-specific allocations by Team Europe. For example, EUR 50 million has been allocated to Nigeria to contain the spread of the virus; EUR 10 million will help Ethiopia increase the number of diagnostic laboratories, test kits and treatment centres, and EUR 105.5 million will support health and social services in countries in the Horn of Africa. In addition, Team Europe, with other international partners, is leading the research and development of COVID-19 solutions, with a EUR 6.5 billion pledge to the Coronavirus Global Response, the global action for universal access to affordable coronavirus vaccination, treatment and testing.