Between June and December 2021, Amref Health Africa’s COVID-19 response was structured around three pillars: Preventing Transmission, Preventing Death, and Preventing Social Harm (integrated, in this report, into the first two pillars). For each of the pillars, Amref’s approach was reinforced by our trademark commitment to community engagement and awareness-raising, delivered through an extensive network of Community Health Workers (CHWs). Through strategic partnerships and an ambitious communication and thought leadership agenda, Amref continued to provide leadership and strategic policy direction at global, continental, regional and national levels on matters related to COVID-19.
This report provides a snapshot of some of the key interventions implemented between June and December 2021. This is a continuation of Amref’s COVID-19 response which began in mid-March 2020, initially targeting 10 countries in East, Southern, and West Africa. Since then, at least30 COVID-19 projects have been rolled out, and an additional 45 existing projects realigned to incorporate COVID-19 into their routine implementation plans.
Our COVID-19 response now spans 30 countries. The central focus of this work is on raising awareness to help reduce the number of new infections, border surveillance interventions, training of health workers to strengthen their capacity to respond to COVID-19, and WASH interventions, as well as support to the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines through awareness creation and community outreach, among others.
Media and the use of digital technology enabled Amref to reach community members at a significant scale across multiple locations. Through multi-media campaigns encouraging behaviour change, Amref has reached more than 10 million people, including young people. Through targeted media pitches, webinars, opinion editorials, and social media messaging, Amref continued to strengthen its communication around the importance of vaccines and the delivery of the same in hard-to-reach areas across the continent. Accurate and up-to-date information was made available via the Amref COVID-19 Information Centre.
To further promote vaccine equity, Amref ramped up its advocacy work, calling for an end to vaccine nationalism, releasing position statements on vaccine equity, and participating in international platforms such as the U.S. President-led COVID-19 Summit at UNGA 2021, where we were able to amplify African community voices. In October, we launched a campaign to #EndVaccineInjusticeInAfrica with five key asks, the majority aimed at wealthy nations: 1) ending stockpiling; 2) limiting boosters; 3) sharing more doses, and faster; 4) sharing licenses and technology; and 5) a call to Africa to never again find itself in a position where it is reliant on other countries for life-saving medical supplies. To date, our petition has accrued 200,000 signatures from all over the world.
The marvellous contributions made by Amref to the continent’s COVID-19 response would not be possible without the support of partners and the enormous commitment and efforts of the entire Amref team. While the whole world continues to battle the pandemic, it’s Amref’s resolve to constantly learn and further strengthen its response plans through adaptive programming.