The Africa CDC and the Mastercard Foundation have embarked on a new phase of their partnership for the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative following the WHO’s declaration of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic as a public health emergency of international concern. The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative, a groundbreaking $1.5 billion partnership, was launched in June 2021. This innovative partnership aimed to purchase COVID-19 vaccines, facilitate vaccinations, develop the vaccine manufacturing workforce for the continent, and strengthen the Africa CDC to ensure long-term health security for Africa.
In an unprecedented display of scale, speed, and involvement of African organizations, the partnership has contributed to the continent’s current vaccination rate of 53 percent of the target population, up from just 3 percent at the start of the initiative. The partnership has also trained, equipped, and deployed 38,000 health workers, creating a strong frontline to protect local public health. It has provided job opportunities for 23,000 individuals and integrated over 600 COVID-19 vaccination centers into healthcare systems. Additionally, this initiative led to the expansion of genomic testing capabilities from 7 to 40 laboratories across the continent.
The review of Phase 1 of this initiative, conducted by Deloitte among fifteen implementing partners across 29 countries, indicated that the vast majority of funds disbursed were used effectively and as intended. Furthermore, ongoing monitoring by KPMG confirmed that partners not only demonstrated strength in programmatic results, but also improved institutional capacity for greater sustainability and resilience.
“Our Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative with the Mastercard Foundation has shown the power of respectful and action-oriented partnerships rooted in collaboration, coordination, and systems strengthening. The experience and learnings from Phase I will enable us to move with greater speed and scale to deliver with accelerated impact to our member states” said Dr. Jean Kaseya, Director General of the Africa CDC.
In its second phase, the partnership will expand its scope and scale, focusing on completing the vaccination of healthcare workers and vulnerable groups, building a robust workforce of community health workers, ensuring pandemic preparedness by bolstering national public health institutions, laboratory capacities, data access and quality, local manufacturing of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, and continuing to strengthen the Africa CDC.
“While the global pandemic may be declared over, the need to continue investing in our health systems, build our workforce and prepare for future pandemics remains urgent. This partnership will ensure that we have strong health institutions and systems. We aim to enable thousands of young people to build their careers in healthcare and contribute to improving lives in Africa,” said Reeta Roy, President, and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation.
The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative stands out as a testament to the power of African-led health solutions. As it progresses to its next phase, partnerships will continue to play a crucial role in shaping a New Public Health Order for Africa. Africa CDC and the Mastercard Foundation remain committed to improving the health and well-being of all Africans.