With the COVID-19 cumulative cases in Africa now exceeding 3 million and daily cases currently surpassing the peak numbers recorded in the first wave of the pandemic, renewed public health measures and efficient distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines are now more important than ever.
Consequently, MTN’s recent partnership with the African Union (AU) contributed to the COVID-19 vaccination programme of the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
Here are seven things to know about the partnership:
- MTN donated US$25 million towards the initiative: The support MTN has offered under the partnership is a monetary donation to the vaccination programme which will help in acquiring COVID-19 vaccines to be distributed across the African continent.
- Seven million doses of the vaccine will be secured through MTN’s donation: MTN’s donation will help secure up to seven million doses of the vaccine for distribution towards the vaccination initiative of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
- The primary recipients of the vaccine are health workers across the continent: Health workers are the most at-risk of contracting the virus. There is also a high chance of transmission of the virus to non-infected patients by asymptomatic health workers. The vaccines will ensure they are protected and also prevent them from spreading the virus.
- The vaccine to be acquired is the AstraZeneca vaccine: The AstraZeneca vaccine was selected for distribution by the AU. The vaccine, which was developed in partnership with the University of Oxford, is already being administered across the United Kingdom. The vaccine works by prompting the immune system to start making antibodies and primes it to attack the virus when injected into a patient. It has been proven to be highly effective as no one given the vaccine at the trial stage developed severe COVID symptoms afterwards or required further hospital treatment.
- The partnership is part of MTN’s effort towards helping the Africa Centres for Disease Control achieve its goal: Africa CDC’s goal is to achieve at least 60 percent vaccination rate on the continent. They have, however, identified finance and logistics as major challenges. Partnerships with private organisations such as MTN are some of the most viable means to achieve their goal.
- The partnership will ensure equitable access to the AstraZeneca vaccine: With the majority of countries in the first world leveraging their wealth and status in the international community to secure vaccines for their citizens, countries in the third world, including several African countries are having a difficult time securing vaccines. The MTN-AU partnership further arms the continent with the resources required to ensure equitable access to the vaccine for the African people.
- Other private organisations can also partner with the AU! In order to achieve the vaccination target set for the continent and increase the chances of reaching herd immunity, private organisations are encouraged to follow in MTN’s footsteps and give towards the acquisition of vaccines for the continent.
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MTN’s partnership with the AU has further established its position as a leader in the private sector and a key stakeholder on the African continent. Its efforts will, no doubt, inspire other private organisations to give towards the vaccination initiative.