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Championing for a vaccinated Africa

Championing for a vaccinated Africa
(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

There is a need to continue campaigns for Africa leaders to address bottlenecks and encourage the population to get vaccinated as Africa is experiencing low daily vaccination, a pan African initiative stresses.
On Friday September 16, 2022 international NGOs in partnership with African Union Commission held an event at Radisson Blue hotel Addis Ababa to build momentum around and enhance youth ownership of the Bingwa Initiative and discuss the broader economic crises.
Though the number of new cases of Covid-19 has drastically dropped across the continent, the virus still has significant risk to people’s lives. As of the end of August 2022, only 28 percent of the African population received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine and about 22 percent are fully vaccinated while the global rate is 62 percent. From the total 623.6 million vaccine doses Africa CDC has received only 68 percent have been utilized across the continent.
The event aimed to raise awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated, increase vaccination coverage in the continent, build momentum and coalition of young people championing the vaccination campaign and also increase the drumbeat of voices of global health leaders CSOs and citizens to have stronger voices in the pandemic response.
As researches suggested that barriers to vaccination uptake include; storage and distribution challenge, pandemic apathy, vaccine hesitancy, lack of awareness or accessibility issues in the rural areas and diminished sense of urgency around vaccination where fatality rate are low
As indicated on the event, in addition to the pandemic, the Russia invasion of Ukraine is adding to the aftershocks of the pandemic as economic growth has slowed down globally while inflation has soared, sparking fears of imminent stagflation.
Motivated by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who called for innovative ways to scale up vaccinations across the continent, an African Union public-private-youth initiative co-led by Africa CDC and the Women, Gender and Youth Directorate through the Youth Division has been conceptualized under the name “AU COVID-19 Vaccination Bingwa Initiative”. The initiative seeks to establish a network of COVID-19 vaccination youth champions across the continent to accelerate the uptake of COVID-19 vaccination in Africa.
The initiative is co-sponsored and jointly implemented by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the Youth Division (YD) of the African Union Commission, and seeks to leverage the comparative advantage of two key AU initiatives: Saving Lives and Livelihood (SLL) and 1 Million Next Level initiatives of the African Union Commission.
Participants from AU, INGOs, youth residing in Ethiopia, government authorities, attended the event.

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