Twitter Q&A: Aya Chebbi and Seth Berkley on how COVID-19 might affect African countries

The COVID-19 outbreak is a reminder that diseases do not respect borders or labels. Within months, the pandemic has affected nearly every person on the planet regardless of their age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. The global response must be similarly equitable, reaching beyond borders and benefiting all people everywhere

African countries have seen fewer cases than the rest of the world, but are preparing themselves for the worst. The pandemic has already caused devastating economic effects on the continent, and the African Union Commission has called on all nations to mobilize more resources to contain the disease. The African Union Youth Envoy recently launched a new initiative to empower Pan-African youth advocates called the African Youth Charter Hustlers initiative. This will engage African youth to lead continental, regional, and national advocacy and accountability.

To discuss responses to the pandemic and how it might affect African countries, we hosted a Twitter Q&A on our @ONEinAfrica channel with award-winning activist and AU Youth Envoy, Aya Chebbi and Dr Seth Berkley, the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and an expert in infectious disease epidemiology and global health.

There has been a slew of initiatives and appeals announced to address the COVID-19 pandemic. What gaps do you think exist in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic so far?

COVID-19 has hit high-income countries hard, but African countries are seeing a number of cases and the impact is likely to be more dire due to weak health systems. How is Gavi working with the African Union and African countries to support their response?

Gavi played a significant role responding to recent Ebola and measles epidemics in Africa. What lessons can be learned from those responses as we address COVID-19?

The pandemic won’t just affect people’s health, it will also have an impact on education, food, job security and several other SDGs. What can be done urgently to avoid increasing poverty on the continent?

What should African countries do to support epidemic preparedness, so we are better equipped to detect and respond to future epidemic threats?

Find out more about Gavi’s work and read about Aya’s fight for gender equality.

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