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By Jackson Mapapayi 

The Mastercard Foundation will donate US$1.3 billion in partnership with  the African Union and the Africa Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and prevention vaccinate millions of Africans for the next three years.

The initiative is called ‘Saving lives and livelihoods ‘ and is aimed at acquiring Covid19 Vaccines for at least 50 million people.

This came to light during the Covid-19 Vaccines Town Hall Sensitisation roundtable chat with the media organised by the African Union-Economic, Social and Cultural Council ( AU-ECOSOCC ) in Solwezi.

ECOSOCC head of secretariat William Carew disclosed that the focus areas will be vaccines procurement and logistics, vaccination center set up and staff training, community engagement and risk communication among others.

Mr Carew said other focus areas are surveillance, digital tool assistance and technical assistant to national vaccination programs and management.

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He called for strengthened partnership and collaboration among all actors including the media in order to achieve positive results in the fight against the pandemic.

Mr Carew said that partnership and collaboration is the only way to achieve positive results in the field of development as it provides an avenue for stakeholders to leverage on distinctive comparative advantage.

“The media has its own comparative advantage, equally other actors such as the ministry of Health, ECOSOCC.  All what is required is leverage one another’s comparative advantage in the best interest of the African citizen,” said Mr. Carew.

Mr Carew said that the  AU-ECOSOCC has no option but to work with the media as it is part and parcel of the institution from its composition as a non-state actor.

He said the mandate is to popularise the work of the African Union programs and policy adding that you cannot popularise without the media because it has the strongest tools that can be used to bring the information to grassroots in different languages.

“Therefore we want to keep our relationship with the media and ensure that we strengthen this relationship so that continue working together not only on the Covid19 situation but on many various issues,” he said.

And Director  General for the Zambia National Public Health Institute ( ZNPHI ) Proffessor Victor Mukonka said the media is a strategic partner in this era of Covid19.

Prof Mukonka stated that the bought against the pandemic can be won when the media gives the accurate information to the public.

“If you mislead the public, we are headed for trouble, “Proffessor Mukonka said.

He also mentioned that his institution has the responsibility to give accurate information so that the public is well informed.

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