Africa gets additional $7m support for COVID-19 prevention
London, March 16, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The Skoll Foundation has pledge a total of $7 million to support Coronavirus (COVID-19) preparedness and response activities in Africa.
The latest funding is aside the $5 million for the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced in January for screening and crisis preparedness
Through the new funding, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the SACIDS Foundation for One Health (SACIDS), and the East African Integrated Disease Surveillance Network (EAIDSNet), have agreed to collaborate and coordinate their efforts in order to better respond to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak across Africa.
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The partnership is a response to the call for a continent-wide strategy to prepare and respond to the Coronavirus that Africa Union Health Ministers agreed on during an emergency meeting convened by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 22 February 2020.
The high-level meeting also endorsed the Africa Taskforce for Coronavirus Preparedness and Response (AFTCOR).
The partnership between Africa CDC, SACIDS, and EAIDSNet will focus on implementing several technical areas of AFTCOR: diagnosis and subtyping, enhanced surveillance and risk communication in several African Union Member States.
It will build on existing systems for monitoring influenza-like illnesses and severe acute respiratory infections. The institutions will implement joint activities within the surveillance and laboratory working groups of AFTCOR.
Meanwhile, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has donated more testing kits to Kenyan government after the East African country confirmed its first COVID-19 infection case
Rapid diagnosis & containment remains the focus of #Africa #COVID19 strategy as authorities at #KEMRIs in #Kenya received additional testing kits from @AfricaCDC reps, @MuthoniKahuho & Dr @IsabellahAyagah after #Kenya confirmed its first case. #AfricaResponds #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/Aij97XibLB— Africa CDC (@AfricaCDC) March 15, 2020
Prior to that all samples are taken to South Africa for testing.
The head of department for disease surveillance, Daniel Langat told legislators that much as the institute has capacity to diagnose the virus, they did not have kits to test the disease.
“As a country, we are prepared to combat the outbreak of coronavirus though the matter has been complicated by the newness of the virus. KEMRI has the capacity to diagnose the disease but we lack reagent kits and only a few countries in the world have them,” Langat said.
Africa has only two referral laboratories to test for the new virus, according to World Health Organisation.WHO Regional Director of Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said due to the newness of the virus only two referral laboratories are available in Africa to carry out tests.