The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) today received a third donation of medical equipment and supplies from the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The donation is to support COVID-19 response by African Union Member States and it includes 4.6 million masks, 500,000 swabs and test kits, 300 ventilators, 200,000 sets of protective clothing, 200,000 face shields, 2,000 temperature guns, 100 body temperature scanners, and 500,000 pairs of gloves.
The Ethiopian Airlines cargo flight carrying part of the consignment departed Guangzhou, China, and landed in Addis Ababa at about 3 pm Eastern Africa Time.
“The world cannot afford the unthinkable consequences of a COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. The crisis is proving to be more difficult and longer lasting than any of us had expected. We must make every effort to get prepared. As members of the global community, it would be irresponsible for us to sit on the fence, panic, ignore facts, or fail to act. We need to take action now,” said Mr Jack Ma, Founder, Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Group.
The medical equipment and supplies needed to fight COVID-19 are largely manufactured outside Africa, and every country, including countries with advanced technologies, needs them. This has made it more difficult for African countries to procure their medical supplies through the regular channels.
“Getting diagnostics and medical equipment for COVID-19 response is a global challenge. Africa is in a fierce competition with the developed world with respect to the availability of commodities. These donations from the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation have been an incredible initiative helping to feed the need for medical supplies by African countries,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC.
The Jack Ma Foundation is now taking its support to public health in Africa to the next level as it collaborates with Africa CDC to hold a special webinar entitled Global MediXChange for Combatting COVID-19 (GMCC): The Experience of China tomorrow, Tuesday, 28 April 2020 at 3.00 pm East Africa Time (8.00 pm China Standard Time). The webinar will feature remarks and presentations by Jack Ma; Dr John Nkengasong; Dr Chen Wang, President, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences; Dr Bin Cao, President, China-Japan Friendship Hospital; and Dr Raji Tajudeen, Head of the Division of Public Health Institutes and Research at Africa CDC.
This webinar will enable medical experts from Africa, China and other parts of the world to share knowledge, experience and best practices for treating COVID-19. It is open to the public and interested individuals can join through the GMCC X Africa CDC Livestream Link.
GMCC was launched last month by Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation to facilitate open knowledge sharing and online communication to combat COVID-19. Supported by technologies and tools from Alibaba Health and Alibaba Cloud, GMCC features three main components: digital access to epidemic prevention resources, videos and webinars, and tools for online discussions. Nearly 3000 medical professionals have already joined the platform globally and thousands of medical staff from hospitals across Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe have participated in live exchange sessions organized by the GMCC to better understand how to respond to this new virus disease pandemic.
This new collaboration is in line with the African Union Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT): Trace, Test & Track (CDC-T3), and supports implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19. It paves the way for long-term, more structured and more strategic support to public health initiatives in Africa.
“Partnership is key to winning the war against COVID-19. In our strategy we have highlighted four things: cooperation, collaboration, coordination and communication. If we do not want Africa to be the next epicentre, we must foster multisectoral partnerships at the community level, at the national level, at the continental level, and at the global level. This important collaboration is a major milestone in achieving this,” said Dr Nkengasong.