By Aisar Fagge
African countries have received over 90 million donations of doses of Covid-19 vaccines to ensure Africans are adequately vaccinated, but inadequate information and lack of transparency and accountability caused a serious problem.
The Vaccine and Essential Drugs Associate of Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), Khadija Hamid Bobboyi, disclosed this in a webinar organised by AHBN on Thursday, June 30, 2022, to acquaint Media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) with necessary information on procurement, delivery and distribution of the vaccine in Africa.
Mrs Bobboyi noted that developed countries, multilateral organisations and corporations have supported Africa at different phases in terms of the supply of the vaccine that ravaged the world.
She revealed that COVAX and African Vaccines Acquisition Trust, alongside other partners, have made vaccines available to African countries.
She stated: “Africa is getting free donations of vaccines and support from the international community; availability of multiple sources of COVID-19 vaccine and at a subsidised rate.
“African Union and Partners have established AVAT to augment donations from the international donor community.”
“African Civil Society Organizations and the populace hardly know or understand the procurement and delivery mechanisms. There is a paucity of information, weak transparent processes which make it difficult to hold governments and their donors to account.”
The AHBN officer, however, decried that there is an uneven distribution of the vaccines among African countries while many donors donate near-expired vaccines with short notice that African countries may not be prepared for its safe keeping.
“Multiple mechanisms may pose a problem because some countries may receive more and others less without proper analysis of which country is in more need of the vaccines. The majority of the donations to date have been ad hoc, provided with little notice and short shelf lives and become expired,” she added.
She described the webinar as “an attempt to begin to change the narrative and empower African Civil Society Organizations, media and the populace with information and promote greater and meaningful participation in the affairs of Africa and COVID-19.”
She finally called on the donors and partners to key in countries’ priorities in their donations, saying, “donations from COVAX and AVAT to African countries must be made in a way that allows countries to effectively mobilise domestic resources in support of rollout vaccination and enables long-term planning to increase coverage rates.”
The convener of the webinar, Dr Aminu Magashi, who is the founder of several NGOs such as AHBN, CHR, and YOSPIS, assured that this kind of webinar would continuously be organised regularly to sensitise media practitioners and Civil Society Organizations on their roles in holding governments accountable on the procurement, delivery and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
The participants of the webinar who came from different countries were drawn from media organisations, CSOs and the general public, who were educated on the processes of vaccine acquisition and distribution.