Reuters / Ramzi Boudina

Monitor

New Remedies for Resilient Health Systems in Africa

Existing progress and further steps for deeper EU-AU cooperation

The African continent seemed to come through the COVID-19 pandemic better than other regions until the beginning of 2021. This positive picture is clouded by renewed waves of the coronavirus. Furthermore, an increase in the number of cases is expected due to the new “Omicron” variant. This analysis highlights progress in EU-AU collaboration on pandemic response and building resilient health systems in Africa.
Until the beginning of 2021 and contrary to all forecasts, the African continent seemed to be coming through the COVID-19 pandemic better than other regions. However, for some months now, this positive outlook has been clouded by new waves of the coronavirus. Throughout the pandemic, the structural problems of African health systems have also become apparent.
 
Containing the COVID-19 pandemic in African nations has been difficult, particularly due to the slow start of vaccination campaigns. When compared internationally, the continent is far behind - primarily due to the prolonged unavailability of vaccines.
 
Yet despite the challenging context, the African Union (AU) and its Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have achieved remarkable successes in combating the pandemic. There are many new initiatives aimed at continental coordination in the crisis and increasing the resilience of health systems over the longer term.
 
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Union and its member states have stood alongside their African partners, including through the Team Europe approach, to initially help mitigate the immediate impact of the pandemic.
 
Moreover, the EU and AU have jointly launched new partnerships and initiatives to foster and advance sustainable structure and capacity development in the areas of research and innovation, pharmaceutical regulation and production that contribute to the strengthening of resilient health systems.
 
The task now is to implement the projects initiated in the wake of the global COVID-19 health crisis within the time parameters set out for this purpose. The EU initiatives should build on existing AU strategic objectives, as these are based on the challenges and capacities on the ground.
 
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