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Grant Summary

Project Name: Towards the Africa CDC partnership to accelerate COVID-19 testing.

Grant Amount: USD 12,000,000


The COVID-19 outbreak as of October 4, 2020, rapidly spread throughout the African continent where 55 member states reported more than 1.5 million cases and
36,614 deaths. Furthermore, the vulnerability of Africa’s 1.3 billion people to the disease was very high, fragile health systems were struggling to respond to in a
broader context of concurrent epidemics of vaccine preventable and other infectious diseases, inadequate water, sanitation, hygiene infrastructure, population
mobility and susceptibility to social and political unrest during such times of crisis.

The African Union through the technical arm, African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has been working closely with African member states to strengthen their preparedness and response capabilities to limit transmission and minimize the resulting mortality from the outbreak. The Rockefeller
Foundation committed US$12 million to the Africa Public Health Foundation (APHF) in December 2020 to support the work of the Africa CDC in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by accelerating COVID-19 testing in 14 AU member states through the PACT Test and Trace pillars.
In the Test pillar, the project supported seven countriesmin West Africa (Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Gambia, and Côte d’Ivoire) and four countries in Central Africa (Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Congo Republic), including Kenya in Eastern Africa and Namibia in Southern Africa. Five countries have been supported under the Trace pillar with the deployment of Community Health Workers.  These include Liberia, Namibia, Congo Republic, the DRC and Eswatini.

Given the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgency to vaccinate a critical mass of the African population, a portion of the grant (US$3.05 million) was redirected towards the Africa CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Out Pooled Fund. In addition, Africa CDC has been able to respond to multiple other health outbreaks on the continent due to savings, including the Sudan Ebola Virus outbreak in Uganda, a cholera outbre

ak in Malawi and a Marburg outbreak in Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania.

Grant Achievements

  1. COVID-19 Testing: Africa CDC has supported laboratory systems strengthening in West and Central Africa with a focus on decentralizing knowledge and skills on Ag-RDT and PCR testing for detection of COVID-19 in 12 countries. Africa CDC has also supported periodic external quality assessments of SARS-CoV-2 molecular laboratories. Out of 635 laboratories, 581 laboratories scored 100% on proficiency testing.
  2. Biosafety and Biosecurity: An important element of this project supports health professionals to improve practice about COVID-19 specific biosafety, biosecurity, and risk assessment. This includes safe and secure transportation, inventory, and storage of test samples. Africa CDC has brought together Central, Western, and Southern Africa Member States to guide the continent on bio safety and bio security safety measures.
  3. Biobanking: Africa CDC designated seven National Public Health Institutes or Reference Laboratories on the continent as Centres of Excellence to form an Africa Biobanking Network. These seven Centres of Excellence are from Senegal, Morocco, Gabon, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Ghana.
  4. Deployment of Community Health Workers (CHWs): Under the Tracing Pillar, 1,571 CHWs were trained and deployed in Liberia (221), Congo Republic (700), Namibia (250), DRC (200), and Eswatini (200). 2,708,650 household visits took place by the CHWs through contact tracing, active case search, and risk communication activities. 1,627,433 contacts were identified, of whom 941,031 (57%) met the standard case definition and were categorized as suspect cases of COVID-19. Cumulatively 571,197 (61%) of the suspected cases were successfully referred for testing.
  5. Pooled Funding for COVID-19 Vaccine Centers of Excellence: Given the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgency to vaccinate a critical mass of the African population, US$3 million in funding was repurposed towards a COVID-19 Vaccine-Roll Out Pooled Fund. Through the Pooled Fund, Africa CDC:
    • Ensured more than 1,766,5531 vaccinations against COVID-19 were administered;
    • Supported 1,415 vaccination centers and facilities;
    • Trained and supported 18,744 personnel throughout the delivery chain, including community health workers; and
    • Addressed urgent needs in a timely manner, such as where doses were expected to expire.
  6. Responding to other health outbreaks on the continent : Significant savings were generated under the training budget lines, allowing Africa CDC to pursue other, lifesaving, activities, including responding to three disease outbreaks: Ebola in Uganda, Cholera in Malawi and Marburg in Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania.

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