As countries re-open their borders and the new school term approaches, the African Union has launched a campaign to minimise the spread of infection, facilitate the sharing of health information and ensure schools can re-open safely.
On 20 August, the African Union (AU) launched its “Africa against Covid-19: Saving lives, economies and livelihoods” campaign.
The campaign will facilitate the development of a harmonised strategy to protect borders, travellers, economies, livelihoods, and schools in Africa from the risk of increased Covid-19 transmission as countries begin to re-open their borders.
The objectives are to:
- minimise the spread of infection within and across borders by creating a unified public health corridor for safe travel within the continent;
- curtail the impact of Covid-19 on economies and livelihoods through the mutual recognition and acceptance of health information and data across member states;
- ensure that schools are reopened safely through the establishment and engagement of a multi-sectoral committee to develop a school opening safety plan.
“In the last two weeks, Africa passed 1m cases of Covid-19. Noting that we do not have a vaccine yet, and recognising the socio-economic effects of the pandemic on Member States, we must continue to be proactive so that we do not lose the precious gains made with the preventive measures,” said the AU’s commissioner for social affairs, Amira Mohammed.
The campaign will use innovative tools, methods and partnerships to prevent further transmission, deaths and socio-economic harm on the continent as economies, borders and schools re-open.
It is supported by a consortium of private sector organisations, including Econet Group and other pan-African institutions that are part of the PanaBios platform.
“We are excited to be working with African Union member states, the Africa CDC and our implementation partners by offering the Health Status Report, a mobile-based, global health information platform – powered by secure blockchain technology – that captures a person’s Covid-19 testing data and results”, said Strive Masiyiwa, executive chairman of Econet, and African Union special envoy for the continental fight against Covid-19.
“When we talk about easing the lockdown of economies and border crossings, it’s all about people. It’s about how easily we can facilitate the movement of people while at the same time ensuring critical public health measures are in place,” said Dr John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
The campaign will leverage the African Union’s Partnership to Accelerate Covid-19 Testing (PACT) initiative to scale up testing, contact tracing and treatment in Africa while incorporating innovative indigenous technologies from the private sector to enhance surveillance, digitisation of COVID-19 test results, and data management.