Africa CDC Annual Report 2021

The year 2021 has continued to see the African continent working collectively and collaboratively in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The Africa Union, through Africa CDC, ensured support to the Member States was maintained with various initiatives supporting testing, treatment of hospitalised cases and dis/mis-information about the pandemic put in place throughout the continent. By the end of the year more than 40,000 public health cadres had been trained on Infection Prevention Control, case management, antigen testing and other health system strengthening trainings. While over 20,000 community health workers had been deployed to Member States.

By the end of 2020 the world saw a renewed hope as approved vaccines became available to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Africa CDC committed itself into exploring every available option to make sure that Africa is not left behind in accessing this life saving treatment. The African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) was therefore established in November 2020, working with partners, to secure enough vaccines to vaccinate at least 60% of the African population were available. Since then, more than 783 million vaccines have been supplied, with approximately 540 million vaccines administered to the population.

These efforts have come with many challenges in 2021, as the richer countries took most of the global supply to safeguard their own populations, and leaving the low middle income countries at the back of the line and slowing equitable access to vaccines. By the middle of 2021, over 2.3 billion vaccines had been administered globally with only 1.5% of those administered on the continent. The injustice continued as richer countries imposed travel bans and restrictions based on select vaccines authorised by their regulatory agencies as the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic had detrimental effects in Africa. This battle continued till towards the end of the third quarterof 2021. By September 2021, 5.7 billion vaccines had been administered globally, with only 2% administered in Africa. This lead to an urgent call by the AVATT principals, along with the World Health Organization to accelerate vaccination in Africa and reiterating the target of 70% of the global population needing to be vaccinated by mid-2022.

In order to mitigate these current and future challenges, the continent has continued in the same spirit as in 2020, working collectively and collaboratively and led by the AU Heads of States and Government. A number of strategic initiatives have been endorsed by the African leaders to strengthen Africa’s preparedness and response to the current pandemic as well as future ones. The Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM) is one such initiatives, with the aim of developing, producing and ensuring over 60% of the vaccine supply are manufactured on the continent by 2040.

Institutionalisation of regional initiatives such as the African Vaccines Trust (AVAT) and the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) would help the continent to be better prepared to support its needs. This report highlights the collective efforts by the continent to combat the pandemic while also fighting other public health challenges faced by the continent. We also express our continued appreciation and gratitude to all the partners who have continued to contributed materials, technical and financial support to respond to the pandemic and other response efforts.
As we look ahead to 2022, Africa CDC will continue its efforts to ensure that 70% of the African population is vaccinated by engaging and targeting its younger population. We look forward to the support of local efforts such as local manufacturing, supporting the public health institutions and strengthening the health workforce on the continent. This is a time the world must rebuild its economy and plan better for the next pandemics.

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