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Fighting the Corona pandemic in East Africa

KfW finances protective clothing and test kits in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda

Corona patient in the intensive care unit
Corona patient in the intensive care unit of the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a major challenge to most African countries. Their healthcare systems are usually not equipped well enough for such emergencies. To improve the economic consequences and human suffering caused by the pandemic in poorer countries, KfW Development Bank is supporting countries in East Africa in procuring medical equipment, protective clothing, masks, test kits and consumables. Respirators are also among the purchases.

All of this has benefited and continues to benefit public health facilities in all three countries as well as Aga Khan hospitals in Kenya and Tanzania. Among other things, around 50,000 test kits have already been handed over to public health facilities in Kenya and Uganda.

KfW also supports the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi in its function as a corona and vaccination centre as well as a training centre. In the meantime, almost 50,000 people have received a vaccination there; the number of beds for Corona patients has increased significantly. Isolation wards have also been created and staff trained.

Strengthening health systems

Finally, the treatment costs of people in need of care are covered by a so-called Patient Welfare Fund. This is done on the basis of a defined catalogue of criteria as well as a formalised review process: around 120 people have already received money for medical or hospital costs here.

The cooperation takes place via the Aga Khan University and overall aims to equip the inadequate capacities of the health systems in all three countries to contain the Corona pandemic. KfW is funding the project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development with EUR 6 million.

It is in line with the repeated statement by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that poorer countries should not be forgotten in the fight against the virus. In Africa - as of March 2022 - less than 13% of the population is fully vaccinated, compared to just under 59% in Germany. Together with its partners, KfW is working to increase this rate in Africa and improve the overall response to the Corona pandemic.