Mastercard Foundation has donated $1.3 billion in a bid to acquire vaccines for more than 50 million people ,boost the continent’s vaccine manufacturing as well as strengthen public health institutions.
The funding will be distributed in a span of three years in partnership with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fund is intended to help acquire vaccines for more than 50 million of the continent’s 1.3 billion people, improve its vaccine manufacturing and delivery system, and strengthen public health institutions.
Reeta Roy, the foundation’s chief executive, said in a statement, ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent, she said that this initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent.”
The donation is one of the largest private gifts intended for the pandemic fight and it comes amid a growing outcry over the lack of vaccine supply for poorer countries comparing to United States and other high-income countries which have provided at least one dose of a vaccine to most of their residents. Many developing countries are not expected to have sufficient vaccine supply until at least 2022.
The Mastercard Foundation has played a key role in boosting Africa’s safety net during the pandemic, together with a donation of $ 40 million to increase coronavirus testing .
The Africa CDC will oversee distribution of funding for an array of services, including workforce training and community engagement; drug safety efforts and genomic sequencing; and support for individual nations’ vaccination programs.
John Nkengasong, director of the Africa CDC said, we’ve all during this pandemic acknowledged that Africa is lagging behind — and lagging behind seriously — in the battle against this very deadly disease. He said we believe that this partnership will enable us to … win the current battles, but prepare for the next battle.”
Last year, African Union and the Africa CDC set a goal of vaccinating at least 60 percent of the continent’s population by the end of 2022, estimating that the effort would cost at least $16 billion. So far, fewer than 2 percent of people in Africa have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, significantly trailing the global average of 11.6 percent.
While addressing the media, African leaders said the gift would build on efforts to secure hundreds of millions of doses for the continent through Covax, the World Health Organization-backed initiative to distribute vaccine doses worldwide, and the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team.
Wynne Musabayana, the head of communications for the African Union, said the foundation’s gift was unprecedented and would lead to “saving lives and saving livelihoods.”
Udayakumar said that the announcement calls for providing more doses to Africa “than have been shared across the continent to date.” Nkengasong told reporters Tuesday that just 32 million shots have been administered across the continent.
Mastercard has separately committed nearly $100 million in corporate donations to boost the global coronavirus response, including a partnership with Gavi, the vaccine alliance, to improve global access to the shots, and last year’s launch’s of the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator with the Gates Foundation and Welcome Trust, intended to expedite development of coronavirus treatments.