ETHIOPIA – Mobile network company MTN and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have jointly launched the “One More Push initiative” to curb Covid-19 fatigue.

The campaign aims to encourage people across the continent not to give up in the fight against COVID-19 and to continue wearing their masks, wash their hands and practice social distancing.

This initiative will also drive vaccine safety influence vaccine acceptance and ultimately celebrate vaccine adoption.

The One More Push campaign is a progression of MTN’s #WearItForMe campaign launched in August 2020, which encouraged everyone to wear a mask for their safety and that of their loved ones.

It extends partnership between the Africa CDC and MTN, which includes the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to health workers across the continent through the Group’s US$25 million donations.

“With third and fourth waves of COVID-19 sweeping across parts of Africa, we cannot overstate the importance of everyone doing their best right now to keep the virus at bay,” said Africa CDC Director, Dr. John Nkengasong.

The African continent is racing to administer the Covid-19 vaccine amid growing population fatigue with restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Last week the AU reported that it had procured a regional supply of 65 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for 51 member states. Of these a total 49.6 million vaccine doses had been reportedly administered, translating to an estimated 1.07% of the African population being vaccinated.

Between May and June 2021, the Africa CDC reported an average increase of 29% in new cases reported each week.

Of the most populous countries in Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, had a 57% average increase, South Africa had a 41% average increase, Kenya had a 16% average increase, Nigeria had a 13% average increase, while Ethiopia had a 23% average decrease and Egypt had a 21% average decrease.

However, South Africa was reported to be among the top five countries that have administered the most Covid-19 vaccines.

The AU reported that Morocco had reached a 100% vaccine supply roll out with 18.9 million doses administered covering 24.27% of the country’s population; Egypt has administered 4.3 million doses covering 0.75% of its population.

Nigeria, with 3.4 million doses, managed to cover 0.57% of its population; Algeria with 2.5 million doses has managed to cover 5.69% of the population receiving its first dose; and South Africa with 2.9 million doses managed to cover 0.57% of its population.

The One More Push campaign is an extension of the AU’s Adapted Africa Joint Continental Strategy for Covid-19 Pandemic.

The strategy is said to focus on three key levers – Enhanced Prevention, Enhanced Monitoring and Enhanced Treatment – and is endorsed by Africa’s Health Ministers.

The first phase of One More Push will center around the prevention messaging advocating for and reinforcing the importance of continued mask-wearing, along with other virus transmission prevention measures.

As we continue with the distribution of vaccines across the continent, we all need to keep focused on overcoming COVID-19,” said Dr. Nkengasong. “We implore all of Africa’s people to keep it up – let’s all give it one more push.”