Dr Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa has been appointed as a commissioner in the newly constituted Commission on African COVID-19 Response.
This comes after the announcement of the appointment of H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa as the African Union Champion on COVID-19, by the African Union Bureau of Assembly of Heads of State and Government (AU Bureau) at the 34th Ordinary Session of the AU held on 06 February 2021.
‘‘The rising surges of COVID-19 in various Africa countries continues to be a growing concern, particularly for health systems that are being pushed to a breaking point as well as for Africa’s social and economic health and recovery. In many of these African countries, oxygen is running out, hospital beds are full and there are no vaccines available for those who need them most. In addition to the disease burden, communities have suffered a great social and economic burden especially born by women, girls and children.”
“A lot needs to be done to mitigate the outcomes for the health and well-being of Africans during these uncertain, and unprecedented times and I’m confident that the commission under the leadership of H.E Cyril Ramaphosa will be a great addition to the continuing laudable response on COVID-19 in the continent witnessed since the first case in Africa,” said Dr Gitahi.
The Commission will be chaired by President Ramaphosa and deputised by the Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Infection (Africa CDC), Dr John Nkengasong.
Together with other Commissioners, Dr Gitahi will support the President in his Championship role in order to enable his continued leadership in guiding the continental response to COVID-19.
The Commission’s mandate is two-fold: 1) identify gaps in the continental COVID-19 response strategy and propose evidence-based interventions within the scope of practice of the Commission, and 2) generate evidence to assess the impact of COVID-19 on social and economic harm on the continent and propose ways to a strong recovery.
Since COVID-19 was declared an emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Gitahi has contributed to national, regional and global discussions aimed at empowering communities and governments with key information about COVID-19.
Under his leadership, Amref Health Africa has been at the forefront of COVID-19 response in Africa, sharing technical expertise and leveraging its strong relationships with communities. Amref has been responding to the pandemic in 10 countries across East, West and Southern Africa. These include Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, Senegal and Guinea.
By sharing its technical expertise and leveraging its strong relationships with communities, Amref has contributed to shaping the national strategy on COVID-19.