The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), through the African Union, today received the third and last batch of 1.4 million COVID-19 test kits donated by the Government of Germany.
The kits were delivered through a European Union (EU) Humanitarian Air Bridge flight as part of the EU’s global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, worth over €26 million, with contributions from the EU, Germany, Austria, Spain, and Sweden. This donation is to provide direct support for implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 Outbreak and the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) across Africa.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Team Europe has mobilized support for response in Africa through a variety of actions designed to help bridge the supply and capacity gaps and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the continent. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission (HRVP), noted that today’s humanitarian aid delivery is a concrete example of the strong partnership between the EU and the African Union.
“The European Union has been at the forefront of the global fight against COVID-19. From day one we have fought the pandemic both at home and abroad. From day one we have put solidarity and cooperation at the heart of our response, because it is our firm conviction that nobody is safe until everybody is safe. Today’s delivery of COVID-19 test kits and material is another visible testimony of the EU’s global coronavirus response. It is also a clear recognition of the remarkable role the African Union has played to lead the continental response to the pandemic,” said HRVP Borrell.
“The cornerstone to preventing any disease is to test, and the key factor in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic is partnership based on sound solidarity principles. The donations by the Government of Germany further demonstrates the solidarity that we have always enjoyed from the European Union and we appreciate their support in fighting this invisible enemy,“ added H.E. Mr Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
“This final delivery of life-saving testing equipment to the African Union wraps up the first phase of the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge, which has provided crucial support these past months to vulnerable countries amidst the coronavirus pandemic,” said Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management.
The kits will be distributed to African Union Member States as were the previously donated kits, which have helped more than 24 African countries to perform over 700,000 tests.
Stephan Auer, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ethiopia and the African Union said: “We can only beat the coronavirus together – worldwide. This is why we are supporting the African Union in cooperation with the EU. We are happy to support Africa CDC as they coordinate the procurement and distribution of life-saving diagnostics to African Union Member States. With this support to the PACT initiative, we contribute to making testing widely available in Africa.”
In addition to this donation, Team Europe, in partnership with Africa CDC, is contributing to the deployment of rapid responders and community health workers, provision of in-country and virtual training, risk communication and community engagement, and enhancement of preventive measures and surveillance capacities. In June 2020, the EU allocated €10 million to facilitate the deployment of healthcare workers and rapid responders for surveillance, laboratory testing and case management at country level as well as to strengthen other activities of Africa CDC. Additional support will be mobilized in the coming weeks with strong focus on the most vulnerable groups.
The test kits have been sourced by the German Epidemic Preparedness Team (SEEG). The SEEG was initiated in 2015 by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany in response to the West African Ebola crisis. It brings together the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Charité Clinic, the Robert Koch Institute and the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine. In addition to providing test kits, Africa CDC and SEEG are partnering for external quality assessment of reference laboratories, using the provided test kits for benchmarking and accreditation of quality and effectiveness of testing in Africa.
The total Team Europe global response package stands at €36.5 billion, combining resources from the EU, its Member States, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. This support focuses on addressing the immediate health crisis and the resulting humanitarian needs; strengthening partner countries’ health, nutrition, water and sanitation systems and their research, preparedness and response capacities; as well as supporting the alleviation of social and economic consequences of the pandemic. At least €6.8 billion is allocated to supporting countries in Africa as well as a considerable part of the overall Team Europe guarantees of €2.9 billion.