Ramaphosa lauds Serum Institute funding for African health workforce

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as African Union (AU) COVID-19 Champion, has lauded the Serum Institute of India (SII) for its initiative to provide an initial USD 2.5 million to help the AU COVID-19 Commission as it seeks to establish a health workforce task team. AU Health Workforce Task Team (AU-HWTT) is an ambitious new initiative which aims to develop a comprehensive framework to build a full African healthcare workforce in pursuit of economic recovery and global health security.

“I am pleased to see that Serum, as the producer of medical countermeasures, understands that it is the health workforce that delivers these lifesaving tools to the people. We welcome this contribution to kick start the continental health workforce initiative and call on businesses, donors and other investors to follow Serum’s example,” Ramaphosa said.

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII, endorsed Ramaphosa’s view. “We have a long history of providing healthcare support in Africa, including billions of affordable routine vaccines against diseases such as measles and polio, and the development of new vaccines to protect against meningitis and malaria,” Poonawalla said.

“But the pandemic has taught us the need not only for life saving medicines but for the life-saving health workers to administer them.

“The AU-HWTT will mark the first step in the building of the African healthcare workforce of the future,” he added.

Poonawalla echoed Ramaphosa’s call for governments, charities and companies alike to step forward and contribute to this historic process and empower the experts at the African Union and Seed Global Health to make this lasting systemic change.

“This will not only help to ensure more people in Africa get vaccinated to finally end the acute phase of Covid-19, but also prepare the continent for the health threats of tomorrow,” Poonawalla said.

The SII funding comes as the AU partners take stock of the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa and the need for sustained financing for health workforce development.

Health workforce development is a critical pillar of the AU’s New Public Health Order towards universal health coverage, pandemic preparedness and health security.

The AU COVID-19 Commission will oversee the implementation of the initiative in partnership with Seed Global Health.

Dr. Vanessa Kerry, CEO and founder of Seed Global Health, said that after working with partners to help train over 36,000 health workers to meet patients’ needs, Seed has seen first-hand the damaging impact of not having enough health workers.

“COVID has exponentially exacerbated the crisis. Governments have committed to vaccine donations but rarely to the essential human resource infrastructure needed to deliver them.” Kerry said.

SII is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally supplying the world’s least expensive and WHO-accredited vaccines to 170 countries.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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