• Joint effort

    Joint effort

    An MoU has been signed to strengthen the community-based pandemic response across the African continent.

    The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is working with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to increase support for COVID-19 testing in African countries, as well as to promote and scale up contact tracing.

    The partnership’s goal is to strengthen investment in locally led efforts in pandemic prevention and response, while also aiding governments to roll out COVID-19 vaccination programmes. According to the Africa CDC, the initiative aims to alleviate the high level of community transmission in countries such as Botswana, Burundi, Eswatini, Cabo Verde, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    Jagan Chapagain, IFRC secretary-general, notes the organisation’s ‘unparalleled access’ to local communities will benefit the partnership (it has about 1.2 million volunteers in communities across the continent). ‘Our community-based volunteers have the access and trust that are needed to address vaccine hesitancy and sensitise communities about adherence to preventive measures.’

    The Africa CDC has already been engaging health workers in risk communication, community sensitisation, monitoring for early detection, contact tracing and facilitating referrals for testing and continued care.

    7 September 2021
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images