The World Health Organization (WHO) Africa region has commended Rwanda’s innovative strategies in implementing vaccination drives that have leveraged the country to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa said that Rwanda has managed to implement the WHO vaccination drive specifically through the aspect of community and government engagement, which she said is a very good example to other countries.
On Monday February 14, 2022 Africans will commemorate the second year of COVID-19 pandemic on the continent.
With the two difficult years in the pandemic which has pushed up to 40million Africans into poverty (according to World Bank figures), WHO Africa said that there is hope revive economies only through vaccination uptake.
Moeti, however, said that there is light at the end of the tunnel as long as the continent remains vigilant and acts intensively on vaccination, the continent will remain on track of controlling the pandemic.
“Controlling this pandemic must be a priority if we are also to end the disruption and destruction and begin regaining control over our lives. Vaccination is currently our best defense,” Moeti said this February 10, 2022 during a virtual press conference on the state of the pandemic.
While many countries are considering booster shots, Moeti said that 85% of Africans are yet to receive a single jab.
“To reach the level of immunity achieved in other parts of the world, vaccine uptake needs to be significantly accelerated across the region (Africa) and urgently,” Moeti said.
Currently 672Million doses have been received in Africa but only 11% have been administered among adult populations.
With this, Moeti said the current drives of vaccine supplies on Africa’s shores and initiatives at regional and global levels against the pandemic are very good signs that the world will end the virus.
However, Moeti stated that there is need to translate the vaccines in actual shots into people’s arms, as a critical response to the pandemic, to reach the 70% target set by the WHO for each country considering that $15billion (1.7Billion to 30 countries in Africa) injected in response activities.
Among countries that are heading to this target and followed through is Rwanda.
Dr. Albert Tuyishime from Rwanda’s Minister of Health said that so far Rwanda has received 22 million doses of vaccines as of today mainly through the Covax initiative, donations and bilateral partnerships.
This has seen 66% of the population get at least one dose, 55% having two doses, and 8% having a booster jab, against the country’s target of reaching 77% by end of year 2022.
“This comes with lessons learnt- that political leadership makes a difference,” Tuyishime said.
With doubts if other countries are holding vaccines in stock, Dr. Arlindo Rosario, Cape Verde Minister of Health and Social Security called for equal distribution of vaccines to beat the pandemic.
Dr. Richard Mihigo of WHO said that the organization is working with countries to make sure they get vaccines and many have accelerated the vaccine uptake in recent days.