The impact of COVID-19 was felt globally and disproportionately in sub-Saharan Africa. In the two years since the pandemic began, even though the infection and death rates due to COVID were fortunately lower than originally predicted in Africa, African health systems experienced widespread disruption.
Fragile health infrastructure and a lack of critical human resources for health have put pressure on already weak systems. The issue of vaccine inequity on the continent has been an abject failure; of the 9 billion vaccine doses produced globally, Africa received only 6% of the supply. As of April 2022, less than 10% of Africans are fully vaccinated.
As COVID became a major national health priority, Touch was asked by the Director of Health in the Tanzanian President’s Office (PORALG) to help support the Government’s response to COVID-19 across the country. As in many developing nations, Tanzania required urgent assistance to improve the uptake rates of vaccines and to deliver on activities outlined in the national COVID response plan. Unlike in developed economies, most African health facilities keep paper-based records; these rudimentary systems were quickly overwhelmed.
In 2021, Touch mobilized resources to respond to this urgent request from our Tanzanian government partners. Touch staff provided emergency assistance to PORALG by supporting the national coordinating office with data analyses on stock levels and vaccination rates and delivering analytic insights to inform processes related to the national COVID response roll-out. We hired a dedicated Project Manager to be embedded within the President’s Office COVID task force.