The United Kingdom has revealed its plans to invest up to 20 million pounds in the African Union’s new ‘Africa anti-COVID-19 fund’ to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Africa. The announcement was made on Thursday in a statement by UK International Development Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
In the statement, it was established that the fund would support African leaders and technical workers in their fight against the spread of COVID-19 in Africa and worldwide.
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It said that the fund would support the deployment of African health experts to the places where they are most needed, as this would strengthen global tracking of the pandemic.
The statement noted that it would prevent the spread of harmful information, adding that it would provide specialists with training for health workers and keep the public well-informed about the virus.
“As the UK faces its biggest peacetime challenge in tackling coronavirus, it has never been more important to work with our partners in Africa to fight disease. No one is safe until we are all safe and this new funding and support for African leadership will help protect us all in the UK, Africa and around the world from further spread of the virus,”
Trevelyan was quoted as saying in the statement.
She said the fund would also facilitate an evidence-based approach for surveillance, diagnosis, treatment, and control of coronavirus in Africa.
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Speaking on the contribution, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing said:
“The truly global scale of the current crisis means that international cooperation and solidarity is more important than ever.”
She said that the 20 million pounds UK funding contribution to the African Union would go a long way in providing support to Nigeria and other African countries.
“This new support for the African Union comes after the UK has already pledged over 900 million dollars to the international fight against coronavirus. The UK is also using its existing aid programmes to help vulnerable countries in Africa to strengthen their health systems.
“It also comes ahead of the UK hosting the virtual Global Vaccine Summit on June 4, to secure future funding for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which has already saved the lives of millions of children in Africa from infectious diseases.
“Many countries on the continent are beginning to see exponential increases in case numbers, presenting a severe risk to fragile healthcare systems,”
She noted that in sub-Saharan Africa, there were on average just two doctors for every 10,000 people, compared to 28 per 10,000 in the UK.
“If healthcare systems become overwhelmed, the worldwide spread of the virus will be difficult to slow, risking new waves of infection.
“The UK’s contribution to the Africa anti-COVID-19 fund will prevent this by working in partnership with the AU to help fight the virus, strengthen healthcare systems and save lives in the AU’s 55 member states.
“Today’s announcement brings the total UK aid contribution to fighting coronavirus to up to £764 million ($935.6 million),”
Featured Image Source: Daily Post NG
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