By Frank Kamuntu
The United Kingdom has injected $26M into the African Coronavirus (COVID-19) grant to help cushion Africa from the effects of the pandemic.
The funds which are to be channeled through the African Union, will fund the training of health professionals in member states to help them handle the epidemic.
The money is the highest amount so far deposited into the continental kitty dubbed ‘Africa COVID-19 Fund’, which was established by the Chairperson of the African Union and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The UK government said the money will be used to strengthen global tracking of the pandemic and combat misinformation to the public.
It also seeks to make information more accessible, create awareness through weekly virtual meetings for African clinicians, publish technical guidelines in AU languages, and convene AU member states to agree on a continental response to the virus.
The UK Aid money will among others be used in the search for a vaccine, provide important humanitarian relief to the most vulnerable, strengthen global healthcare systems and manage any possible risk of a global collapse of the economy.
According to Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the UK International Development Secretary, the funding is part of global efforts to help mitigate the virus.
“No one is safe until we all are safe, and this new funding and support for African leadership will help protect us all from further spread of the virus,” she said in a statement.
The support from the UK comes after it had pledged about $950M to fight Coronavirus internationally. This big boost together with UK Aid funding of $990, will help vulnerable countries in fighting the virus as well as strengthen health systems.
However all this comes at a time when there is an increase in the Africa cases of COVID-19 tallying to 108,463 as confirmed cases, 44,043 have recovered and 3,2 61 deaths have been recorded in the UK.
Meanwhile, Uganda on Monday morning announced more 14 new COVID-19 cases from samples tested on 24 May, 2020, bringing the total confirmed cases to 212.
The Ministry of Health said all new cases are contacts to previously confirmed truck drivers and all contacts were under quarantine at the time of test.
Among the new infections include 5 positive foreign truck drivers who were all Tanzanians and were handed over to their countries of origin
The Ministry tested 655 samples from Points of Entry tested and 1, 084 samples from community and contacts however total samples tested were 1,739.
It should be noted that the World Health Organisation recently warned Africa to prepare for the worst due to the Coronavirus pandemic. WHO predicts that an upsurge in the number of confirmed cases could overwhelm healthcare systems if they are ill prepared.