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Serum Institute of India gives $2.5m to fund African health-care workforce

The Covid-19 ward at Karl Bremer Hospital in Bellville in the Western Cape. The Serum Institute of India (SII) is set to provide an initial $2.5 million towards health workforce development in Africa. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

The Covid-19 ward at Karl Bremer Hospital in Bellville in the Western Cape. The Serum Institute of India (SII) is set to provide an initial $2.5 million towards health workforce development in Africa. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 26, 2022

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The Serum Institute of India (SII) is to provide an initial $2.5 million to support the AU Covid-19 Commission in financing health workforce development.

In his capacity as AU Covid-19 Champion, President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed the funding.

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“I am pleased to see that Serum, as the producer of medical countermeasures, understands that it is the health workforce that delivers these lifesaving tools to the people.

“We welcome this contribution to kickstart the continental health workforce initiative and call on businesses, donors and other investors to follow Serum’s example,” he said in a statement.

Partners that will execute the mandate include the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Seed Global Health.

It is hoped that the funds provided by the SII will increase investment in the African and global health workforce.

Ramaphosa established the Covid-19 Commission last year to strengthen the continental institutions established as part of the AU’s continental response to the pandemic.

Health workforce development is a critical pillar of the AU’s New Public Health Order towards universal health coverage, pandemic preparedness and health security.

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CEO of the Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla, said the company had a long history of providing health-care support in Africa.

“The AU Health Workforce Task Team will mark the first step in the building of the African health-care workforce of the future,” Poonawalla said.

“We call on governments, charities and companies alike to step forward and contribute to this historic process and empower the experts at the African Union and Seed Global Health to make this lasting systemic change.”

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Poonawalla said the initiative could ensure more people in Africa were vaccinated and could prepare the continent for possible future health threats.

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