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$1.3B Mastercard deal to save lives in Kenya, other African nations

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The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative will acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people
Kenyans will be among African beneficiaries from the $1.3 billion donation by the Mastercard Foundation over the next three years. This is in a partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to save lives and livelihoods of millions of people and hasten the continent’s economic recovery from Covid-19 devastation.

Dubbed the ‘Saving Lives and Livelihoods Initiative’, it  will acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people, support the delivery of vaccines,  lay the groundwork for vaccine manufacturing, and strengthen the Africa CDC.

“Ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent. This initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent,” said Ms Reeta Roy, president and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation.

“It will catalyse work opportunities in the health sector and beyond as part of our Young Africa Works strategy,” she added.

The African Union’s goal is to vaccinate at least 60 per cent of its population  as set out in the African Covid-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy. The body targets 750 million people or the entire adult population of the continent by the end of 2022. To date, less than two per cent of Africans have received at least one vaccine dose.

The new partnership with Mastercard builds on efforts by  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.

The Africa CDC calls on governments, global funders, the private sector, and others to help meet its goal of vaccination in the content.
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.
“Ensuring inclusivity in vaccine access, and building Africa’s capacity to manufacture its own vaccines is not just good for the continent, it’s the only sustainable path out of the pandemic and into a health-secure future,” said Dr John Nkengasong, the director of the Africa CDC.

He described the partnership with the Mastercard Foundation is a bold step towards establishing a New Public Health Order for Africa.
In 2020, Africa faced its first economic recession in 25 years due to the pandemic and the African Development Bank (ADB) warns  Covid-19 could reverse hard-won gains in poverty reduction over the past two decades and drive 39 million people into extreme poverty in 2021. Therefore, widespread vaccination is recognised as being critical to the economic recovery.

The initiative builds on an earlier collaboration between the Mastercard Foundation and the Africa CDC to expand access to testing kits and enhance surveillance capacity in Africa. Through the foundation’s support, the Africa CDC’s Partnership to Accelerate Covid-19 Testing (PACT) deployed nearly two million tests and more than 12,000 trained healthcare workers and rapid responders. In total, the PACT has enabled over 47 million Covid-19 tests across the continent.

 

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