LESOTHO – The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to kickstart the in-country implementation of the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative in Lesotho to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccination.

Africa CDC said in a press statement that the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative and the Ministry of Health of Lesotho have planned a target to strengthen 22 COVID-19 vaccination centres and vaccinating more than 270,000 within 12 months in the selected sites.

The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative will include a strong focus on Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) to enable Lesotho citizens including young people and rural populations to understand the safety and benefits of vaccination.

The Africa CDC Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative is a US$1.5B partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and launched in June 2021 to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for at least 65 million people and support the delivery to millions across the continent.

In this current support, a total of US$807,067 has been provided to kickstart the first year of implementation in Lesotho in a bid to accelerate 70% vaccine coverage of the African population by the end of 2022.

COVID-19 vaccines from the Mastercard Foundation and Africa CDC’s Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative land in Lesotho at a time when the country only has 55% of the adult population fully vaccinated to support the Government of Lesotho in vaccinating its population.

Minister of Health for Lesotho Honorable Semano Sekatle applauded the Africa CDC and its Implementing Partners for the successful kick-off as it marks a turning point in demand generation for COVID-19 vaccination uptake.

Honorable Semano Sekatle urged the Africa CDC and the Implementing Partners to work together in order to achieve the collectively desired objectives during the launch event of the Saving Lives and Livelihoods program in Lesotho.

Furthermore, the implementation of the program will focus on Risk Communication and Community Engagement and vaccine capacity to enable Lesotho to reach its COVID-19 vaccination target.

“COVID-19 vaccines remain a critical tool in reducing transmission and ultimately returning the economies of Africa to normal,” said Dr. Lul Pout Riek, the Coordinator of the Africa CDC Southern Africa Regional Coordinating Centre.

Dr. Lul Pout Riek further said that RCCE will play a crucial role in creating demand for uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations as well AS supporting other non-pharmaceutical efforts to break the transmission chain and mitigate the pandemic’s impact.

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