Zambia: Africa CDC and MasterCard Foundation launch phase 2 of Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative

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Lusaka, November 29, 2023 – In a groundbreaking collaboration, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the MasterCard Foundation are embarking on the second phase of the Saving Lives and Livelihoods (SLL) initiative, a pioneering $1.5 billion partnership aimed at fortifying Africa’s public health systems. This significant milestone follows the World Health Organization’s recent declaration of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic as a public health emergency of international concern.

Launched in June 2021, the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative initially focused on procuring COVID-19 vaccines, facilitating mass vaccinations, cultivating a vaccine manufacturing workforce for Africa, and bolstering the Africa CDC to ensure enduring health security. This unprecedented initiative, known for its scale, speed, and inclusion of African organizations, has played a pivotal role in elevating the continent’s vaccination rate from 3% to an impressive 53% of the target population.

Furthermore, the partnership has successfully trained, equipped, and deployed 38,000 health workers, creating a resilient frontline to safeguard public health locally. It has generated employment opportunities for 23,000 individuals and integrated over 600 COVID-19 vaccination centers into existing healthcare systems.

The initiative’s impact is also evident in the expansion of genomic testing capabilities, increasing the number of laboratories from 7 to 40 across the continent. A comprehensive review of Phase 1 conducted by Deloitte, encompassing fifteen implementing partners across 29 countries, affirmed that the majority of funds were utilized effectively and as intended. Ongoing monitoring by KPMG not only highlighted the strength of programmatic results but also underscored the improvement in institutional capacity for greater sustainability and resilience among partners.

Dr. Jean Kaseya, Director General of the Africa CDC, emphasized, “Our Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative with the MasterCard Foundation has demonstrated the power of respectful and action-oriented partnerships rooted in collaboration, coordination, and systems strengthening. The experience and learnings from Phase I will enable us to move with greater speed and scale to deliver accelerated impact to our member states.”

As the partnership enters its second phase, it aims to broaden its scope and scale, focusing on completing the vaccination of healthcare workers and vulnerable groups, establishing a robust workforce of community health workers, ensuring pandemic preparedness by reinforcing national public health institutions, enhancing laboratory capacities, data access, and quality, supporting local manufacturing of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, and continuing the strengthening of Africa CDC.

Reeta Roy, President, and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation emphasized the ongoing need for investment in health systems. “While the global pandemic may be declared over, the need to continue investing in our health systems, build our workforce, and prepare for future pandemics remains urgent,” she said. “This partnership will ensure that we have strong health institutions and systems. We aim to enable thousands of young people to build their careers in healthcare and contribute to improving lives in Africa.”

The initiative stands as a testament to the power of African-led health solutions. As it progresses to its next phase, partnerships will continue to play a crucial role in shaping a New Public Health Order for Africa. Africa CDC and the MasterCard Foundation remain committed to improving the health and well-being of all Africans.


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