Since Bloomberg Philanthropies launched its $40 million COVID-19 Global Response Initiative three months ago, 31 African countries have been able to expand their public health efforts to minimize the impact of the pandemic.
The Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative which is in partnership with Resolve to Save Lives is also supporting the 31 countries in building public health systems to help them better respond to epidemics that might occur in the future.
“While many of the countries that were hit earliest by COVID-19 have seen their cases peak, many countries in Africa are just beginning to see a rapid increase in infections. That’s why Bloomberg Philanthropies is supporting efforts to strengthen the response across the continent, including training health care workers, expanding lab capacity, and bolstering public health systems. This urgently important work will reduce the burden on already overwhelmed health systems and save lives, especially in the most vulnerable communities,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and former three-term mayor of New York City.
Since the initiative began, nearly 6,000 health workers in Africa have been trained infection control, In ten countries laboratory capacity has been trained to test for infections, in nine countries locally produced alcohol-based hand-rubs and personal protective equipment have been secured and in two dozen sub-Saharan African countries trained contact tracing workforces have been expanded.
In Ethiopia, the initiative in partnership with the ministry of health and the Ethiopian Medical Association has trained nearly 2,000 health workers on life-saving infection prevention and control measures and maintaining essential health services.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) the initiative in partnership with the ALIMA has trained thousands of health care workers on COVID-19 response measure as well as distributed protective gears and hygiene kits to health centres.
Through the Rapid Response Fund, the initiative deployed $2.9 million in flexible, rapid response funds to 15 countries.
“We are encouraged by the fast action and progress many countries in Africa have had, but we must stay vigilant. I am inspired by the dedication and the hard work health workers throughout Africa are doing to keep people safe, and we are committed to partnering not only for COVID-19 but also to prevent future health emergencies,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President & CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, and former Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.