EU and Germany join efforts to support the African Union’s response to coronavirus

Credit: Unsplash

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The EU continues to work with Member States to tackle the coronavirus pandemic on all fronts. Today, 500.000 additional coronavirus testing kits have been provided to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The test kits were delivered by an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight and are part of a €10 million immediate support package to the African Union (AU) by the German Government in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In total, almost 1.4 million tests for the extraction and the detection of the virus will be made available to African Union countries.

“Through the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge, the European Commission continues to work hand in hand with Member States to support vulnerable countries amidst the coronavirus pandemic. It is in our common interest to tackle the pandemic worldwide. We are committed to ensuring effective delivery of essential medical equipment to the countries that need it the most. This specific consignment will be able to reach a large number of countries as it will support the African Union continental response,” said Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management.

Mr. Gerd Müller, Minister of Development Cooperation of the Federal Republic of Germany, said on the occasion: “We will either beat the coronavirus together worldwide – or not at all. This is why we support the African Union through the German Epidemic Preparedness Team in a cooperation with the EU. Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention coordinate the procurement of life-saving testing equipment for AU member states. They also play an important role in educating African health workers. With our support to the partnership to accelerate coronavirus testing, we make sure that testing is made widely available. We stand by our friends in Africa in the fight against the coronavirus.”

Partnership is key to winning the battle against COVID-19 locally and globally because no country can manage the pandemic alone. That is why as a continental body, Africa CDC is working with several partners and exploring all markets to unlock the supply chain system for diagnostics and medical supplies for African Union Member States, and we are delighted to see the Government of Germany and the European Union coming out strongly to support our initiatives,” said
Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC.

The kits delivery is part of the larger Team Europe support to the African continental response to the coronavirus. In June, Team Europe provided €10 million to facilitate the implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for the coronavirus outbreak, supporting in-country health care workers, rapid responders for surveillance, laboratory and case management and the strengthening of the Africa Continental Taskforce for Coronavirus.

Background:

The test kits have been sourced by the German Epidemic Preparedness Team (SEEG). The SEEG was initiated in 2015 by BMZ in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Health in response to the West African Ebola crisis. The SEEG brings together the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Charité, the Robert Koch Institute and the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine. In addition to providing testing materials, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the SEEG will team up for External Quality Assessments in the designated African 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; on strengthening partner countries’ health, nutrition, water and sanitation systems and their research, preparedness and response capacities; as well as on supporting them in alleviating the social and economic consequences of the crisis. At least €6.8 billion is supporting countries in Africa. Additionally, a considerable part of the overall Team Europe guarantees of €2.9 billion will also benefit Africa.

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