The Critical Role of Community Health Workers in COVID-19 Vaccine Roll Out

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Background
Africa CDC being a continental public health institution has been working with AU Members states and partners in strengthening the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on data-driven interventions and programmes.
Since the emergence of COVID 19 in December 2019, various public health responses measures have been implemented to control the pandemic. Among measures taken by the Africa CDC was the launch of PACT initiative to accelerate COVID 19 testing. Key to the initiative is the engagement of Community Health Workers (CHWs) in risk communication and community engagement (RCCE), surveillance activities for early case identification, contacts tracing and in facilitating referrals for testing and continuum of care.
As of 31 May 2021, Through PACT support, over 17154 CHWs have been trained and locally deployed in 24 AU Member states. The PACT supported CHWs visited more than 2,568,654 households for community engagement activities, active case search and contact tracing, identified 1,618,601 Contacts, 710,167 COVID 19 suspect cases based on the standard case definition and facilitated referrals for 553053 (78%) suspect cases for testing. These efforts were crucial for early identification and isolation of cases in limiting further transmission.

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