ADDIS ABEBA – The Government of Germany has donated on Thursday at least 1.4 million COVID-19 test kits to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The kits – part of the EU’s global response to the COVID-19 pandemic worth over €26 million – come to Africa via EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight.
The medical supplies are expected to accelerate the Coronavirus testing capacity of African countries with the help of AU CDC testing campaign which has resulted in more than 15 million tests being conducted across the continent, to date.
“The cornerstone to preventing any disease is to test, and the key factor in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic is partnership based on sound solidarity principles,” said Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
The latest donation “further demonstrates the solidarity that we have always enjoyed from the European Union and we appreciate their support in fighting this invisible enemy,” Deputy Chairperson added.
The kits will be distributed to AU Member States by Ethiopian Airlines as was the previously donated kits, which have helped more than 24 African countries to perform over 700,000 tests.
The visiting High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, said Thursday’s humanitarian aid delivery is a concrete example of the strong partnership between the EU and African Union.
“From day one we have fought the pandemic both at home and abroad. From day one we have put solidarity and cooperation at the heart of our response, because it is our firm conviction that nobody is safe until everybody is safe,” he said.
“Today’s delivery of COVID-19 test kits and materials is another visible testimony of EU’s global coronavirus response,” he continued. “It is also a clear recognition of the remarkable role the African Union has played to lead the continental response to the pandemic.”
Africa’s response to COVID-19 has gained global recognition for its fast and targeted action.
With the support of its global partners, the Africa CDC has helped direct the continent’s 54 countries into an alliance praised for responding better than some richer countries.
John Nkengasong, director of the Africa CDC said, factors such as climate conditions, the average age of citizens, genetics and antibodies from pre-existing infections may have led to a lower number of deaths, but the sense of urgency back in February also contributed.
“We’ve put in more than 10,000 community health care workers and over 200 responders. There is epidemiologists, infection control people across multiple countries. I think for Africa we have done the best with the limited resources that we have,” he told VoA.
Egypt confirmed Africa’s first COVID-19 cases in February.