The Mastercard Foundation announced a massive donation pledge to help boost the healthcare response to COVID-19 throughout Africa.
On Tuesday, June 8, the Mastercard Foundation, Mastercard’s Toronto-based NGO, announced that they would be donating $1.3 billion dollars over three years to further healthcare work among some of the world’s poorest citizens. The money will be doled out under the guidance of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC), aimed at improving vaccine access and general public health measures in most of the 54 countries in Africa.
One goal of the donation is to acquire enough vaccines for 50 million people and ensure they reach them. Africa’s population is just over 1.3 billion. According to the ACDC, less than one percent of the total population has been fully vaccinated, with a mere 36 million doses administered. The most vaccinated African country is Morocco, with 22 percent of the population covered. The large donation will not solve these dire shortages, but it would more than double the current number of people vaccinated.
Globally, the current average vaccination percentage is nearly 12 percent.
“Ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent,” Reeta Roy, the chief executive of the Mastercard Foundation, said in a statement. “This initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent.”
Earlier in the pandemic, the Foundation donated $40 million through the ACDC to increase important coronavirus testing.
“We’ve all during this pandemic acknowledged that Africa is lagging behind — and lagging behind seriously — in the battle against this very deadly disease,” John Nkengasong, director of the Africa CDC, said after the statement Tuesday. “We believe that this partnership will enable us to … win the current battles, but prepare for the next battle.”
The next battle is the ACDC’s goal of vaccinating at least 60 percent of Africans by the end of 2022, a goal that lags far behind much of the world. This is expected to cost approximately $16 billion. The United States government plans to contribute by donating 5 million doses, but it has not yet landed on a plan to do so.