WHO

Only 250 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, which amounts to three percent of the eight billion doses given globally, have been administered in Africa, the World Health Organisation (WHO) have said.

The global health body made this known after reviews of African countries’ Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

The WHO said only an estimated eight percent of Africans had received two full doses of the Covid-19 jabs compared with more than 60 percent in many high income countries.

WHO called for more funding, including training, sufficient support staff, improving software for data capture and making sure that African countries have enough freezers and logistics elements for their vaccination rollout.

Data from the review shows that only Eritrea has not started a vaccination drive while 23 African countries have undertaken intra-action reviews of their Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

These reviews evaluated all areas of a country’s vaccine rollout, from coordination and planning, to training, logistics, monitoring, service delivery, vaccine safety and risk communications and community engagement.

WHO said 23 African countries have already updated their national vaccine deployment plans based on recommendations from the reviews.

According to the review, Botswana is one of six African countries to reach the WHO global target of fully vaccinating 40 percent of its population by the end of December 2021.

The global health outfit praised Ethiopia for employing a reverse logistics system to redistribute underutilised vaccine doses, thereby avoiding the expiry of precious doses and using 80 percent of its available vaccines.

Ghana used drones to reach far-flung communities and prioritised for vaccination based on vulnerability and the potential risks of exposure on the job.

WHO said South Sudan was using vaccine accountability tools adapted from its polio campaigns to keep track of how well vaccines are distributed and utilised at the service delivery level.

Senegal’s toll-free call centres provide Covid-19 facts to uncertain members of the public and Botswana surveyed its population to understand overall risk perception and then took to social media with its #ArmReady campaign to increase public demand of vaccines.

‘We are at a pivotal moment in this pandemic. With improved vaccine deliveries we must be hard at work dismantling barriers to effective, widespread vaccination’, WHO Immunisation and Vaccines Development Programme Coordinator for Africa, Richard Mihigo, said.

‘Countries must boost funding and support to vaccine delivery operations and logistics and tackle any hesitancy’.

Africa, according to WHO, faces a U.S.$1.3 billion shortfall for operational costs, including cold-chain logistics, travel costs and payment for vaccinators and supervisors, as well as a looming shortage of syringes and other crucial commodities.

Source: WHO

Photo source: WHO

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