ADDIS ABABA ETHIOPIA, 05 September 2022 – The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in collaboration with UNICEF, WHO and other key stakeholders, through the Saving Lives and Livelihoods programme in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, is hosting a continental workshop for managers in the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI),to track progress towards achieving the 70 per cent vaccination target by the end of 2022, while reaching most vulnerable groups and strengthening countries’ health systems and routine immunization.
This workshop will provide an opportunity for learning best practices and sharing experiences among Member States with the support of experts from Africa CDC, UNICEF, WHO and other partners. The event will also identify opportunities for continental change of policy and strategies to accelerate the scale-up of COVID-19 vaccination with a focus on achieving 100 per cent coverage among high-risk groups, and to recover, if not surpass, pre-pandemic routine immunization coverage.
Despite recent progress in global COVID-19 vaccine coverage, Africa continues to report the lowest COVID-19 vaccination uptake, with 22.1 per cent of people fully vaccinated compared to other regions globally. Most countries have coverage below 20 per cent – compared to a global average of 60 per cent. Additionally, in most African countries where data is available, the COVID-19 vaccination coverage among the high-priority population, including Health workers, elderly people, adults, and children with co-morbidities, remains low.
African Union (AU) Member States are facing various challenges to rolling out COVID-19 vaccination, including, among others, the limited health workforce to implement accelerated vaccination strategies within an already strained health system and the low uptake of vaccination particularly among the most vulnerable groups due to a low risk-perception about the disease in most communities as hospitalizations and deaths plummeted.
According to UNICEF and WHO, the pandemic has grossly set back childhood immunization on the continent. Nearly 12 million children in Africa have missed out on vaccination in 2021 and were made vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. Essential immunization service coverage dropped in all AU regions between 2019 and 2021. This resulted from the pandemic’s associated disruptions, in addition to strained health systems due to COVID-19 vaccination efforts. This is the largest backslide in childhood vaccinations in decades.
The continental workshop will gather delegates (i.e., National Managers of COVID-19 Vaccination programmes and National EPI Managers) representing all 55 Member States of the AU and partners alike to take stock of the progress on COVID-19 vaccination, share experiences to overcome critical bottlenecks towards 70 per cent coverage by the end of 2022, while strengthening countries’ health systems and routine immunization. The event is scheduled to take place from 6-8 September 2022 at theAU Commission in Addis Ababa.
About the Africa CDC
Africa CDC is a continental public health agency of the African Union whose role is to strengthen the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions and partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks based on data-driven interventions and programs. For more information, please visit: http://www.africacdc.org;
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About the Saving Lives and Livelihoods Initiative
The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative is a three-year, US $1.5 billion partnership between the Mastercard Foundation and Africa CDC, designed to save the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Africa and hasten the economic recovery of the continent in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative is committed to acquiring vaccines for more than 65 million people, supporting the delivery of vaccinations to millions more across the continent, and laying the groundwork for vaccine manufacturing in Africa by focusing on human capital development, and strengthening the capacity of Africa CDC.
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation is a Canadian foundation and one of the largest in the world, with approximately $40 billion in assets. The Foundation was created in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. Since its inception, the Foundation has operated independently of the company. Its Board determines the Foundation’s policies, operations, and program decisions. For more information on the Foundation, please visit: https://mastercardfdn.org/faq-saving-lives-and-livelihoods/
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G. Nekerwon Gweh, Communication Officer, Division of Policy, Health Diplomacy and Communication; Africa CDC | Tel: +251 945 502 310 | Email: GwehN@africa-union.org
Mastercard Foundation Nonye Mpho Omotola
Lead, Health Communications, Human Capital Development firstname.lastname@example.org
UNICEF Office to the African Union and ECA
Mr. Derrick Ochuot
Communication and Advocacy Officer,email@example.com