President Ramaphosa welcomes Serum Institute of India’s $2.5 million pledge to boost Africa’s healthcare

FILE PHOTO: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo by Felix Dlangamandla / Beeld / Gallo Images via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. /Gallo Images via Getty Images)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday welcomed the Serum Institute of India’s (SII) pledge to provide an initial 2.5 million U.S. dollars to support the African Union (AU) COVID-19 Commission to improve healthcare systems on the continent

President Ramaphosa expressed optimism that the SII’s initiative can help Africa attract more funding for healthcare.

“I am pleased to see that Serum, as the producer of medical countermeasures, understands that it is the health workforce that delivers these lifesaving tools to the people. We welcome this contribution to kick-start the continental health workforce initiative and call on businesses, donors and other investors to follow Serum’s example,” he said.

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India, pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic had taught the world “ that the need is not only for life-saving medicines but for the life-saving health workers to administer them.”

“The AU Health Workforce Task Team, will mark the first step in the building of the African healthcare workforce of the future,” he added.

Poonawalla said the initiative could ensure more people in Africa were vaccinated and could prepare the continent for possible future health threats.