Response plan to improve health access, protect economies

06 May 2020 | Africa

The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) has launched a COVID-19 Response Plan of Action to assist African countries to improve access to sustainable and resilient health services and protecting economies. The CEO of AUDA-NEPAD Ibrahim Mayaki sits down with Africa Renewal.

What is the AUDA-NEPAD COVID-19 Response Plan of Action?

It is a comprehensive, proactive and multidimensional plan that will help tackle both the current COVID-19 challenges and the post-pandemic repercussions. It is a direct response in improving access to sustainable and resilient health services, while ensuring the protection of Africa’s economic foundations.

How long will the response plan last?

It is meant to last for as long as COVID-19 exists and then three years after the pandemic.

How do you plan to implement the response?

We have set up multidisciplinary teams covering four core dimensions: data collection and analysis innovation and transfer of knowledge; implementation, and monitoring of impactful projects in the response to COVID-19; private sector engagement, and communication and advocacy.

For the immediate term, which areas will you focus on?

We are focusing on key thematic areas including health service delivery; capacity building for healthcare human resources; research, development, and innovation to enhance local manufacturing; education and training skills and employability; food and nutrition security; and financing.

Any plan on the local production of medical equipment?

Africa needs to prioritize the production of equipment for domestic markets. We have put in place an e-learning platform, including production modules and open-source licenses, to benefit manufacturers who are willing to produce vital sanitary equipment.

Also, AUDA-NEPAD is in the process of launching a platform to enhance “Made in Africa” ventilators, masks and sanitizing gels gathering all African producers and initiatives to see how they can benefit countries, either through material supply or technology transfer.

What are your post-COVID-19 projects?

First, we are focusing on reforms of the continent’s food systems by prioritizing regional value-chains, health, and wellbeing of consumers, reducing food waste and promoting a culture of sustainable use of food.

Secondly, a focus on skills development and employment is an opportunity for national governments to reflect on prioritizing entrepreneurship and innovation.

Third, we intend to implement an intervention to provide technical support to countries to mitigate the social and economic effects of school closures during the COVID-19.

Fourth, we are prioritizing national planning and data systems, that is, making use of sound data and evidence for planning developmental programs and to mitigate unforeseen future crises such as epidemics and natural disasters.

Lastly, we hope to create the first reference system, synthesizing good practices and responses, to offer African countries the tools to respond to this pandemic, as well as anticipate future risks and threats to the tourism sector.

Is there any support for the poorest countries?

Poorest countries are a priority for the African Union and a big chunk of our portfolio of projects target them. – www.un.org/coronavirus

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