New Africa CDC Initiative launched in Rwanda to improve COVID-19 vaccine uptake

RWANDA – The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to kickstart the in-country implementation of the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative in the Republic of Rwanda to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination across the country.

Previously, under the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative’s Urgent Support program, more than 151,000 vaccine doses were delivered to Rwanda to support the country’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

The Africa CDC said in a press release that the continental public agency and the Ministry of Health through the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative target to reach more than 700 thousand citizens by focusing on rural and other under-vaccinated communities to bring the pandemic under control.

The implementation campaign will focus on improving risk communication, community engagement, vaccine capacity, logistics, and implementation science to enhance the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination support effort in Rwanda.

Furthermore, Rwanda has been selected as one of the Africa Union Member States to produce the human vaccine using mRNA technology through the Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM).

Africa CDC noted that the vaccination drive is being launched at a time when the government plans to kick start mass vaccination roll out for children between 5 and 11 years old and administering of second booster doses to people aged 60 years and above.

The new Africa CDC initiative aims to strengthen the county’s cold chain capacity and bolster 21 new COVID-19 vaccination centers in the Northern, Southern and Western parts of the country to ensure COVID-19 vaccine accessibility and equity.

The Africa CDC, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, recognizes that the only way to end the pandemic and safeguard lives and livelihoods on the continent is to immunize the African population rapidly,” said Dr. Achamyelesh Debela, Coordinator of Africa CDC Eastern Africa Regional Coordinating Centre.

The Coordinator of Africa CDC Eastern Africa Regional Coordinating Centre further said that through the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative, Africa CDC will continue supporting the continent to reach the COVID-19 vaccination target of 70% coverage of the African population by the end of 2022.

In addition, the African Union, Africa CDC, Africa Medical Agency and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) acknowledged Rwanda as a strategic country leading the innovative pan-African initiatives.  

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