NGOs critical role in ending COVID-19 vaccine 'apartheid'

for Tv47 Digital April 13, 2021, 03:31 PM
image_ no death because of covid 19 vaccine tv47
FILE - A volunteer receives an injection at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa, June 24, 2020, as part of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine trial. PHOTO/ VOA.

Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have a critical role in ensuring equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines, especially in Africa.

According to Ms Jackline Kiarie of AMREF Health Africa, there is broad recognition of the role NGOs and/or Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) play especially in public awareness creation, capacity building as well as safety monitoring and reporting.

Speaking on Tuesday, April 13 during Day Two of the #NGOSWEEK2021, Ms Kiarie said that the sector has been engaged at global, regional and national levels.

With a reach of about 10 million people across Africa every year, Amref Health Africa is currently working closely with African Ministries of Health, Africa CDC alongside the World Health Organisation (WHO) in preventive measures to curb the spread of the COVID- 19, especially by strengthening frontline health workers.

COVAX facility vaccines

In August 2020, WHO engaged representatives from CSOs, which are NGOs, to participate in COVAX – the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator – which aims to develop, manufacture and fairly allocate 2 billion doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021 to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although with some bottlenecks, NGOs have played a vital role in the development and implementation of the COVAX initiative that has seen many African countries receive millions of vaccines.

Kenya received some 1.02 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, courtesy of the COVIX initiative.

Localise NGOs funding sources

On his part, Maina King'ori, the Associate Director, Disaster Management at World Vision, urged the sector to have a relook at the sources of finding.

Mr King'ori says that a majority of fundings to the NGOs sector come from Europe and U.S, with only 11% local.

He looks at the changing foreign policies of donor countries and regional developments like the BREXIT as red flags that "things are going to change in terms of how we fund our operations."

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