ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, July 30, 2020/ — The German Epidemic Preparedness Team, on behalf of the Government of Germany, has donated SARS-CoV-2 extraction and test kits, capable of conducting 1.3 million tests, to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). A first batch of the test kits was handed over today to the Africa CDC by Heiko Nitzschke, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The donation is to support implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19, which aims to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19 infection in African Union Member States and to minimize social disruption and the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is part of a €10 million worth of non-monetary support by the German Government for COVID-19 pandemic response by the African Union.
“The donation of COVID-19 test kits is a concrete example of Germany’s close partnership with the African Union and its solidarity with the African continent. As the current Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Germany is happy to complement the efforts of #TeamEurope in supporting partner countries in tackling this pandemic,” said Heiko Nitzschke.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, African Union Member States have been providing testing services to individuals suspected to be infected with the disease. However, there is an urgent need to rapidly scale-up testing at the community level. Through the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT): Test, Trace, Treat, Africa CDC seeks to build partnerships to increase access to testing across the continent.
“Testing is the cornerstone of response to any pandemic, and providing test kits is one way African Union Member States can quickly scale-up testing. As a continental body we are working with several partners to unlock the testing space and ensure that countries have predictable access to test kits. The donation by Germany is very critical in achieving the goals of PACT,” said Dr Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, Deputy Director of Africa CDC.
The kits donated by the Federal Republic of Germany are being delivered in three instalments and contribute directly to the implementation of PACT by providing essential diagnostics needed to scale-up testing services.
In addition to the donation, Africa CDC and the German Epidemic Preparedness Team will jointly conduct an external quality assessment at selected reference laboratories in Africa, using the test kits for benchmarking and accreditation of quality and effectiveness of testing.
The African Union and Germany have maintained long-term partnerships in addressing global public health, climate change, peace and security, and economic challenges affecting Africa. This donation reiterates the commitment of the Federal Republic of Germany in supporting implementation and achieving the goals of PACT and the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19.
“There is an urgent need for Member States to do more testing, to trace, and to identify and isolate infected persons so they can control the virus and limit transmission. But they cannot do this if they don’t have the capacity to test. This in-kind support will go a long way to boost testing capacity in Africa,” said H.E. Amira Elfadil Mohammed, Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union Commission.