The European Union (EU) has begun the implementation of its new €100 million humanitarian initiative in support of the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in Africa.
The spokesman of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Modestus Chukwulaka made this known in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to the statement, the EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, announced the initiative during her visit to the Africa Centre for Disease control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Tuesday.
Following the meeting with the Head of the Africa CDC, Dr John Nkengasong, Lenarčič expressed delight to announce the start of a new chapter in the EU’s partnership with the Africa CDC.
“By joining forces with the Africa CDC and other international partners, the European Commission aims to support a fast and safe rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa.
“This additional EU funding in support of the rollout of vaccination campaigns against the coronavirus pandemic in Africa will help to ensure that no one is left behind, including people in hard-to-access humanitarian crisis settings.
“I look forward to an even closer cooperation with the Africa CDC in the future, to strengthen our readiness and efficient preparedness to respond together to the challenges of tomorrow,’’ the statement quoted Lenarčič as saying.
It also recalled that the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, had at the G7 meeting in February 2021, initially explained that the €100 million initiative was part of the Commission’s efforts to ensure equitable and fair access to safe and effective vaccines to all.
The initiative, with a steering role of the Africa CDC, will support two complementary dimensions of the vaccination campaigns in Africa, it further explained.
One track of indicative €25 million, in funding, will aim to support the rollout of the vaccination campaign in African countries, it added.
“This will include the support of capacity building of national health authorities and health care workers as well as the support to managing the information and coordination platform on vaccination.
“It will also address critical logistical gaps, including equipment.
“This implementation at the country and continental level will ensure better and independent monitoring of the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns across Africa and support African CDC’s ongoing work.
“From a long-term perspective, it will also seek to reinforce national health systems’ resilience to address future epidemic outbreaks.’’
The breakdown of the EU support initiative indicates that a second track of €65 million in funding, aims to support the rollout of vaccination campaigns in specific humanitarian settings.
These settings are notably in conflict and hard-to-reach areas that will be implemented through needs-specific activities.
It would be in close cooperation with various EU humanitarian partners.
The details also indicate that a further €10 million is in reserve, to be allocated to any of two tracks as needed.
“The EU humanitarian support to COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Africa will be implemented in partnership with the Africa CDC and channelled through UN agencies, the Red Cross movement and humanitarian non-governmental organisations.
“This funding will support vaccination campaigns in countries with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems to ensure that the most vulnerable have access to safe and effective vaccines.
“It will also contribute to strengthening the health systems in Africa so that the continent is better prepared against future outbreaks, delivering on the commitments made under the EU–Africa partnership,’’ the statement further read in part.