Vaccines have greatly reduced the burden of infectious diseases worldwide. Routine immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions, preventing 2-3 million deaths per year. Yet, an additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided if global vaccination coverage improves
COVID-19 is a deadly disease that poses an immediate threat to the African continent and has already taken too many lives. The recent emergence of rapidly spreading variants has made clear that we cannot let our guard down and continue to let the virus spread freely.
It is crucial that coronavirus transmission in Africa is restricted as much as possible to prevent further surges in cases and deaths, which have a devastating impact on Africa’s already strained health systems. These pressures on health services have a negative impact on the prevention and treatment of other health issues in Africa, such as malaria and neglected tropical diseases, as well as efforts to improve sanitation, education and gender equality.
Achieving equitable access to vaccines against COVID-19, particularly for the most vulnerable and our workers on the frontlines, is, therefore, a crucial and urgent step to protect these essential services and save lives.
Stay Safe Africa seeks to empower communities and individuals to take simple and proven preventative measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Africa. The campaign is building trust in vaccines among the general public to promote uptake, while simultaneously advocating for equitable access to these vaccines to support the World Health Organization, and national governments’ response plans.
The pandemic has also drawn attention to the scale of health misinformation in Africa, which exacerbates mistrust in science, negatively impacts efforts to tackle disease and hinders the continent’s ability to proactively shape its research agenda. By championing African science and R&D in the health sector during the pandemic, Stay Safe Africa aims to strengthen Africa’s capacity to develop and adopt innovative solutions to the continent’s biggest health challenges.