Africans Combating Covid-19 With Vaccines and Leadership

January 14, 2022

Promising News from Africa CDC 

In an important interview, At Least 9 African Countries to Produce Covid Vaccines, Dr. John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported on the progress Africa is making in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic. It was published by The World on January 5, 2022

For Africa to vaccinate its entire population of 1.5 billion people, the continent must shift from total dependence on vaccine supplies from other nations. I have written on the necessity of African nations to have their own manufacturing and distribution capability to vaccinate their entire populations. This would require massive investments in all categories of hard and soft infrastructure, which African nations already desperately need. All epidemiologists know that as long as hundreds of millions of Africans remain unvaccinated, the virus will spread and mutate, endangering the entire planet. It is in the self-interest of the developing sector  to help African nations develop their own indigenous capability to manufacture and distribute vaccines to defeat covid-19. Our goal for African nations should be nothing less than 100% vaccination before the end of this year.

Read my earlier posts below.

The exciting news  from Dr. John Nkengasong is that several African nations are in the process of preparing to produce their own vaccines.

“A lot has happened and continues to happen in the course of this pandemic. The heads of states came together and launched a program called Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing. And through that partnership, at least nine countries on the continent have engaged in the pathway for producing vaccines, including South Africa, Rwanda, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, Egypt. Egypt, for example, is already producing about 3.5 million doses of vaccines. We know that South Africa is now producing vaccines. So I think you’ll continue to see that the landscape will change significantly in 2022.” (emphasis added

Speaking on the impact of Covid-19 on the existing AIDS pandemic in Africa, the Director the Africa CDC said: 

“I think it is important to know that we are dealing with two pandemics across the world. The HIV/AIDS pandemic and COVID[-19] is a pandemic that has just emerged over the last two years. And very unfortunately, and very concerning, is the interaction of the two pandemics. We now know that people infected with HIV tend to not clear the virus, that is, the COVID-19 virus, appropriately, especially if they have not been fully treated — and that has the risk of creating variants. We don’t know what the trajectory for COVID[-19] will look like in the coming years, but we know that HIV has been with us for 40 years [and] has killed almost 37 million people. Tremendous gains have been made in the fight against HIV, especially in Africa. But we should be mindful of what COVID[-19] can do to erode the significant progress that we have made in achieving remarkable progress in controlling HIV/AIDS over the years.” (emphasis added)

Rwanda Provides Vaccination Leadership

According  to Dr. Nkengasong:

“Africa remains the world’s least vaccinated continent against COVID-19, with about 10% of the continent’s population fully vaccinated. Only seven African countries have met the global target of vaccinating 40% of their populations against COVID-19 by the end of 2021.” 

In an article published on January 4th: What is Behind Rwanda’s Rapid Covid19 Vaccination Drive?, author Betrand Byishimo analyzes the Rwanda’s success in achieving one of the highest vaccination rates on the African continent.

Rwanda is only one of seven African nations to reach the goal set by the World Health Organization, of vaccinating over 40% of its population of 13.5 million in 2021.

Rwanda has delivered 13.9 million doses of the vaccine and has vaccinated 43.9% of its population, according to ourworldindata.org. The U.S. with access to the vaccine for over one year, has only vaccinated 62% of the American population.

According to the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, “the nation’s central health implementation agency,” as of January 13th: 7,851,445 Rwandans have received one dose; 6,030,321 have received both doses; and 516,062 have been given their booster shots. Rwanda is also one of the nine African nations working to manufacture the covid-19 vaccine itself.

Byishimo reports that a mere 102 million Africans “equivalent to 8% of the African population” have been vaccinated. He writes:

“Considering the hoarding and protectionism of the vaccine, it is of interest to find out how Rwanda managed to achieve these global milestones amidst the suffering continent of Africa.”

Civilization will not survive the stark reality that the fastest growing population in the world is the least vaccinated.

Rwanda is clearly doing something right that should be emulated across the continent and supported by the developed nations.

A Rwanda government official succinctly summarizes the reasons for his nation’s accomplishment.

A resident receives the covid19 jab at Nyabugogo Taxis Park on December 13, 2021.Early January 2022, over 5.5 million Rwandans had been fully vaccinated while above 7.7 M people had obtained their first dose . / Dan Nsengiyumva

“Effective leadership, institutional readiness, long term health sector infrastructure investments and partnership.

On top of working hard to secure vaccines, including paying high cost from its budget, the Government of Rwanda allowed its people free access to the vaccine. The buy-in of the people on the vaccine showed  the trust the people have towards their leadership. Covid-19 also showed institutional readiness; ability to rollout the vaccine nationally as soon as the vaccines arrived in Rwanda. There is also evidence that Rwanda reaped from its long term investments in the health sector infrastructure.”

READ: At Least 9 African Countries to Produce Covid Vaccines

READ: What is Behind Rwanda’s Rapid Covid19 Vaccination Drive?

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

One thought on “Africans Combating Covid-19 With Vaccines and Leadership

  1. Thanks for alerting us all to the incredible gap that exists in vaccinating the vast African population vis-a-vis the rest of the world. It just seems like the well off never learn that the cause of the ignored, the neglected, the misfortunate & the underdeveloped amongst us don’t just disappear like thin air. Like it or not, recognizing the fact that we are all our brothers’ keepers is actually in our own self interest, for planet earth is our common home & the deprived continue to live amongst us wherever that may be. In the long run, it’s important to be aware that failure to recognize this fact doesn’t allow for good neighborly relations. On the other hand the example of Ruanda and the nine other African countries goes a long ways in encouraging self reliance while sharing the know how will promote pan-Africanism. Africa shall triumph!!

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