Throughout this pandemic we’ve been told that once there is a vaccine, society can begin the journey back toward some sort of normal, whatever that looks like.
But, while the rest of the world is being vaccinated, in Africa things are moving at a snail’s pace. Thankfully vaccines are being dispensed however and the Covax programme hopes to supply 600 million doses to Africans.
In a bid to assist with vaccine rollout, Vodacom Group and the Vodafone Foundation have announced that they will donate R74 million to support vaccine rollout to vulnerable people in hard to reach communities “across its markets in Africa”.
The pair say that the donation will be used to purchase cold-chain technology (necessary for insuring the vaccines remain effective), as well as provide logistics support to ensure vaccines reach their destination intact.
“Targeted donations from Vodafone Foundation and Vodacom Group will help nations to address the complexity of maintaining a cold-chain and the logistics around the distribution so that the lifesaving Covid-19 vaccines remain viable. We are proud to be standing shoulder to shoulder with the African Union and national governments to provide practical support for what is an enormous logistical challenge for resource-limited African countries with significant rural populations,” explained Vodacom Group chief executive officer, Shameel Joosub.
The African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team will be responsible for procuring the equipment.
“Greater collaboration between government, business, labour and civil society is key to the success of the vaccine rollout. We commend the Vodacom Group and Vodafone Foundation. I want to call on all our private sector partners to support this new phase in our fight against the pandemic,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Separately, Vodacom and Vodafone Foundation have donated R13 million in support of the Lesotho government’s call for companies operating in the Kingdom to assist with its vaccination programme. The funds will be used to purchase vaccines for the third phase of of the country’s vaccination plan.
“We know how important it is for Africa – and ultimately the rest of the world – that the most significant health intervention in the continent’s history is completed successfully. This donation builds upon the R176 million in grants and in kind contributions that Vodafone and Vodacom Group Foundations have already made in response to the pandemic,” director at the Vodafone Foundation, Andrew Dunnett added.