ETHIOPIA—The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and UNICEF have extended their partnership, which is dedicated to bolster primary healthcare, supply chain management, pooled procurement, local manufacturing, and emergency response efforts.

This collaboration builds upon the existing 2022-2024 Partnership Framework Agreement between Africa CDC and UNICEF, which aims to realize the objectives outlined in the African Union Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.

This  partnership is anticipated to significantly impact public health in Africa by enhancing procurement and supply chain systems, with a particular emphasis on childhood immunization efforts throughout the continent.

Immunization has been one of the most effective public health interventions globally, yet millions of children in Africa still lack life-saving vaccinations with a UNICEF report indicating that 12.7 million children were under-vaccinated in 2021, including 8.7 million who did not receive a single dose, termed as “zero-dose” children

This expanded agreement was formalized through the signing ceremony in Addis Ababa, attended by H.E Dr Jean Kaseya, Director General of Africa CDC, and Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Humanitarian Action and Supply Operations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the vulnerability of many healthcare systems and exposed deficiencies and challenges within medical supply chains with countries with robust primary healthcare systems demonstrating greater resilience, while others faced critical shortages of essential medical commodities due to disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Over the next four years, Africa CDC and UNICEF will collaborate to establish robust institutional support for supply chain management and enhance pooled procurement mechanisms to fortify Africa’s healthcare infrastructure, ensuring timely and sufficient access to essential medical supplies for its populace.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, H.E Jean Kaseya expressed his satisfaction with the partnership with UNICEF, affirming that their shared commitments will bolster primary healthcare and enhance Africa’s health security.

He went ahead to note that the partnership will optimize supply chain management, operationalize pooled procurement mechanisms for Africa CDC, empower community health workers, and advance local manufacturing. All these efforts will strengthen immunization systems and mitigate outbreaks and epidemics on the continent.

Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Humanitarian Action and Supply Operations, on his part, affirmed that strengthening this partnership with Africa CDC and the Joint Emergency Action Plan for Africa will ensure that communities receive the support they need without delay.

Over the past two years, UNICEF and Africa CDC have achieved significant milestones in enhancing Africa CDC’s institutional capacity and catalyzing community health programs, immunization systems, emergency response, and supply chain enhancements.

Collaborative efforts have facilitated the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses and essential cold chain equipment for routine immunization. Additionally, joint high-level advocacy initiatives have focused on immunization, community health, and responses to public health emergencies.

Through the Partnership for Vaccine Manufacturing, Africa CDC aims to manufacture 60% of the continent’s vaccine needs by 2040, laying the groundwork for resilient and self-reliant health systems, ensuring people can access and utilize health commodities as needed.

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