“We can prepare better, fight back, and recover stronger.”
The African Union Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced yesterday the launch of a new partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to combat COVID-19.
The collaboration aims to bolster Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a recovery initiative, said a joint CDC-UNDP press release.
The program is a two-pronged attack, targeting both the economic and healthcare impacts of the fast-spreading novel coronavirus pandemic.
The CDC and the UNDP hope to unite the efforts of civil society organizations, faith-based organizations, as well as Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) in a multi-faceted approach.
Regional coordination, capacity building and sharing expertise, and awareness campaigns will form the plan of attack. The collaboration will also involve in-depth socio-economic, health, and political impact analyses.
“Africa CDC is delighted to work with the UNDP to implement the joint continental strategy for the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Dr. Ahmed Ogwell, Deputy Director of the AU CDC.
Ogwell said the joint program aims to prevent “severe illness and death,” as well as “mitigate the effects of the disease” in AU member states.
UNDP Africa Director Ahunna Eziakonwa expressed satisfaction with the partnership and explained how the program will tackle both health impacts and the wider ramifications of the pandemic.
“We’ve been through a lot on the continent and although we have learned lessons from Ebola, the COVID-19 threat in Africa is multi-dimensional,” she said.
The joint CDC-UNPD approach to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Eziakonwa emphasized, will help the continent to “prepare better, fight back, and recover stronger.”
The launch of the joint program comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in African Union member states reaches 15,249, according to CDC statistics.
In an infographic released yesterday on Twitter, the CDC confirmed that 816 people have died in Africa after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
North Africa has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 patients with 6,625 confirmed cases. Egyptian authorities have confirmed 2,190 cases, while Algeria is inching towards the 2,000-mark with 1,914 diagnoses.
Morocco currently reports 1,988 confirmed cases of the virus, and continues to test suspected cases in line with World Health Organization recommendations.
Western Africa now has 3,574 coronavirus cases, with Cote d’Ivoire (626), Ghana (566), Burkina Faso (515), and Niger (548) all reporting a growing number of diagnoses.
Southern African countries have a combined total of 2,434 cases, and 1,377 people in East Africa have contracted the virus. Central African states have reported 1,274 confirmed cases of COVID-19.