The Mastercard Foundation and Africa CDC say they remain committed to the “Saving Lives and Livelihoods Initiative” aimed at strengthening public health institutions and improving health security on the African continent.
The two bodies in a joint statement made available to BusinessDay on Thursday, also restated their resolve to continue partnering to achieve all the goals of the “Saving Lives and Livelihood Initiatives.”
“With the WHO declaration of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic as a public health emergency of international concern on May 5, 2023, Mastercard Foundation and Africa CDC are assessing the work and impact of the first phase of the Saving Lives and Livelihoods Initiative from its inception in July 2021, and looking to build on this through a second phase,” both organisations said in the statement.
They noted that Saving Lives and Livelihoods was transitioning from emergency mode to a new phase, and to enable evidence-based planning for the new phase, they are conducting an audit as part of the necessary steps to establish what was achieved in phase one.
“The pause addressed new activities and not payments due for completed work. Regular monitoring has been in place to address operational issues that arise within an initiative of this size and complexity.”
The organisations added that a report in BusinessDay referencing Devex in which some health workers claimed to have not been paid, was part of the regular monitoring process and many of the issues have already been addressed.
“We are deeply concerned about pending payments and teams have been working with the relevant implementing partners towards a resolution. The matter is being resolved and payments will be issued.”
“The Saving Lives and Livelihoods Initiative is an unprecedented programme which has achieved remarkable success to date, including over 34 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered in 25 member states, cold chain equipment distributed to 32 member states, 30 laboratories equipped for genomic sequencing of SARS-COV-2 and other pathogens and more than 22,000 jobs created, including senior health professionals, vaccinators, and community health workers,” the statement added.
The two organisations further noted that as the initiative transitions to phase two, priority areas would be integration into routine immunisation systems, addressing COVID-19 alongside other infectious diseases.
“The initiative will also continue to build Africa’s health security by strengthening public health institutions, enabling workforce development, and ensuring the pandemic preparedness for the continent.”