On Wednesday April 29, 2020, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation, and The Access Challenge are launching a campaign called One by One: Target COVID-19. The Campaign will support efforts by the African Union and its COVID-19 Fund by advocating for increased financing for Africa CDC to raise its capacity for securing essential diagnostics and medical supplies needed for COVID-19 response in Africa.
This Campaign will galvanize action against COVID-19 by drawing attention to the need for widespread testing and social prevention measures across the continent, in support of the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT): Trace, Test and Track and the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 of the African Union.
“There are four things we must do: scale up testing and isolate infected individuals, protect our healthcare workers, focus on communities to ensure that the community response is strong, and ensure a constant supply chain component. There is a big gap in testing on the continent and PACT is to support countries and increase their ability to test and trace for COVID-19. We see this as a movement and we call on the media, the community, the private sector, and everyone to partner with us,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC.
“COVID-19 may soon hit Africa with full force. If this happens, we can expect widespread calamity on a scale that dwarfs even the worst of experiences in China, America or Italy. Most national health systems lack sophisticated respiratory machines and intensive care units to care for severe COVID cases. It is therefore imperative for us to get ahead of this virus on the continent. Collectively, we must engage the public, build trust between governments and their constituents, and mobilize financial resources to ensure that essential medical equipment is available,” said Kate Campana, CEO of The Access Challenge.
The campaign will engage influential media houses, popular celebrity artists, athletes, and cultural and business leaders as informed mouthpieces for disseminating accurate public health information; help pan-African leaders to amplify their messages on COVID-19; and engage donors and the private sector to invest in system-wide capacity strengthening in Africa through the African Union COVID-19 response mechanism. All Campaign messages will be coordinated with WHO.
“As COVID-19 continues to spread, it is important to understand the impact it will have on a system that is already burdened by other health challenges across the continent,” said campaign co-founder, H.E. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete. “We have made great progress in the recent past on advancing Universal Health Coverage. There has never been a more critical time than now for countries to take bold and decisive actions to support UHC – not only to protect citizens from COVID-19, but from all other health challenges. We cannot protect people from deadly pandemics, over-burdening NCDs, advance gender equality, or achieve any of the other 2030 Sustainable Development Goals without accelerating progress towards universal health coverage."
For more information, visit the One by One: Target COVID-19 campaign page at https://www.onebyone2030.org/targetcovid19-africa.