ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, 16 JULY 2020. The Permanent Mission of Japan to the African Union has announced a donation of US$ 1 million by the Government of Japan to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
The grant is for implementing the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19. It will be used to strengthen the capacity of Africa CDC Regional Collaboration Centres so they can support effective and efficient communication and knowledge exchange on COVID-19 among Member States, as well as to support infection prevention and control activities and improve clinical case management of COVID-19.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Africa has been increasing daily since the first reported case in February 2020, with increasing pressure on governments to re-open economies after almost four months of lockdowns. As the pressure increases there is also an increasing need to intensify the public health and social measures and to increase testing and contact tracing at the community level. However, huge resources are required to procure the test kits and train the workforce needed to support contact tracing.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is gaining momentum in Africa and this is the time to see more partnership and more solidarity from around the world. Countries must plan to ease the lockdowns safely. We must increase mass wearing of masks, expand testing and engage the community if we must win the war against this virus,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC.
Driven by the principles of cooperation, coordination, collaboration and communication, the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 aims to prevent severe illness and deaths due to COVID-19 infection in African Union Member States, minimize social disruption, and mitigate the economic consequences of COVID-19.
As part of the strategy, Africa CDC launched an initiative, the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT): Test, Trace, Treat, Africa CDC, to mobilize support for the deployment of one million community healthcare workers and community workers and train at least 100,000 healthcare workers by the end of 2020.
This grant from the Government of Japan is expected to galvanize the achievement of the goals of the continental strategy and the objectives of PACT, thereby supporting efforts to get Africa back on track in its continental integration and development agenda.