The MasterCard Foundation in partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has announced the deployment of $1.3billion over the next three years, to save the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Africa through vaccination and hasten the economic recovery of the continent.
The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative would acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people, support the delivery of vaccinations to millions more across the continent, lay the groundwork for vaccine manufacturing in Africa through a focus on human capital development and strengthen the Africa CDC.
President and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation, Reeta Roy, at the Mastercard Foundation-Africa CDC partnership launch on Tuesday, said ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent.
Roy said this initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent, adding that in the process, this initiative would catalyse work opportunities in the health sector and beyond as part of the Foundation Young Africa Works strategy.
Director of the Africa CDC, Dr John Nkengasong, said the African Union’s goal as set out in the African COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy is to vaccinate at least 60 per cent of its population, approximately 750 million people or the entire adult population of the continent, by the end of 2022, but to date, less than two percent of Africans have received at least one vaccine dose.
The new partnership builds on the efforts of the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access facility (COVAX), the COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), and the global community to expand access to vaccines across Africa, he said.
The director noted that the number of vaccines available to Africa represents a small portion of the global supply and the financial costs to purchase, deliver, and administer vaccines remain significant, while calling on governments, global funders, the private sector, and others to help meet this goal.