COVID-19 accelerates innovative partnerships towards new public health order in Africa: Africa CDC chief

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ADDIS ABABA, March 28 (Xinhua) — Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), John Nkengasong, said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent health and socio-economic challenges have accelerated partnerships for innovation in Africa towards building new public health order.

According to the Africa CDC director, the devastating impact of the pandemic instilled a degree of boldness that would have been unthinkable just a year ago, eventually creating conditions to break the silos that prevented Africa’s full potential in innovations.

“Whilst COVID-19 has been an undeniable tragedy of unprecedented proportions, it has also accelerated partnerships for innovation,” an Africa CDC statement issued over the weekend quoted Nkengasong as saying.

The statement followed a recent meeting hosted by the Africa CDC that brought together some 60 Africa’s leading tech and telecom leaders to further explore how technology and innovation would shape the post-COVID-19 new public health order in Africa.

The innovation-themed gathering mainly explored further partnerships and collaboration across the African technology landscape to scale promising pan-African innovation platforms such as the African Trusted Travel Platform, which automates cross-border verification of health certificates for testing or vaccines, it was noted.

The participants, among other things, deliberated on how specific interventions such as the use of digital technology would boost vaccine equity and accountability in Africa and quell hesitancy can provide general blueprints for health sector transformation.

According to the Africa CDC, more than a year into the global pandemic, the profound impact of COVID-19 and the necessary control measures have worsened economic inequalities and social insecurities, and deepened challenges on Africa’s already under-pressure health systems.

It further emphasized that lockdowns, which were highly effective in the short term, cannot be a sustainable solution in the longer term given that more than 80 percent of employment is estimated to be informal, and 85 percent of the population live on less than 5.50 U.S. dollars per day.

The Africa CDC, specialized healthcare agency of the 55-member African Union (AU), further reiterated its commitment to work together with its partners to unlock the potential of technology to enable a new public health order for Africa, which was said to be a key topic going forward in the post-COVID-19 pandemic period.

According to the latest figures from the Africa CDC, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa has reached 4,167,350 as of Sunday morning the death toll from the pandemic stood at 111,561, while 3,735,535 patients across the continent have recovered from the disease. Enditem

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