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New report on COVID-19 in Africa shows widespread willingness to get vaccinated, underscoring need for consistent supply and additional logistical support

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Individual COVID-19 preventive measures, such as handwashing and wearing masks, mark the path forward in protecting people while vaccine efforts scale up 

NEW YORK, 17th December 2021 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- As the Omicron variant dominates the COVID-19 news cycle, new research from the Partnership for Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC) indicates that people in African Union Member States are overwhelmingly willing to get vaccinated. Across 19 countries, 78% of people surveyed by PERC indicated that they had been or were willing to get vaccinated. 

However, as of November 2021, less than 7% of the African continent has been vaccinated. This gap between acceptance and coverage demonstrates a substantial unmet need and underscores the importance of consistent and predictable vaccine supply as well as increased support for vaccination programs in Africa. The latest PERC report considers why global vaccination efforts have been plagued by inequity, as well as the logistical challenges to vaccinating the African continent. The report further outlines the continued importance of preventive measures—particularly individual measures such as masking and social distancing—that minimize the social or economic harm that can occur when mobility, economic and social gathering restrictions are imposed.

“We must work urgently toward equitable access to safe and effective vaccines on the African continent,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. “The PERC data show that demand for vaccines is substantially higher than supply.” 

At 78%, vaccine acceptance was higher than in the previous PERC survey fielded earlier this year (67%), which may indicate the success of risk communication campaigns. In five surveyed countries—Guinea, Morocco, Mozambique, Tunisia and Zimbabwe—acceptance was 90% or higher. Vaccine acceptance was high among both those who trusted their government’s pandemic response and those who felt COVID-19 posed a personal risk to them or to their country. Such high acceptance contradicts media reports suggesting that low vaccination rates across Africa are due to hesitancy.

Among the 20% of respondents who expressed vaccine hesitancy, the top reasons were: low risk perception (24%), not having enough information about vaccines (22%) and lack of trust in government (17%). The reasons for low risk perception are complex, but officials can take concrete action to address them. Offering more and better information to people about COVID-19 and vaccines through trusted sources, particularly health care providers, coupled with consistent and reliable vaccine supply, can further increase acceptance. Respondents’ top information sources included local health centers, television and radio.

A number of bottlenecks have contributed to the failure to achieve higher vaccination coverage. Unpredictable supply—in terms of volume, timing and shelf life—threatens countries’ ability to meet demand. When offered, vaccination is frequently inconvenient, requiring people to travel far distances or visit vaccination sites at inopportune times.

“I am heartened by the efforts of the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and the COVAX facility to expand vaccine access,” said Amanda McClelland, Senior Vice President of Prevent Epidemics at Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “But there is still work to do. Vaccine donations sent too close to expiry dates, for example, leave countries unable to launch effective vaccination campaigns.”

COVID-19 preventive measures remain crucial to mitigate the health impact of the virus. PERC researchers analyzed what influences support for and adherence to such measures and found that individual actions—handwashing, mask-wearing and social distancing—all garnered support from at least 90% of survey respondents. Such high support suggests that these key measures can continue to be effective strategies for reducing COVID-19 transmission. 

Preventive measures restricting gathering or movement received less support. Unemployment and food insecurity were widespread among survey respondents and made adherence to restrictive community measures a challenge. PERC researchers concluded that such measures should be targeted to specific, high-risk populations as needed to minimize harm. 

Income loss also may have had an adverse impact on access to essential health services. Cost and affordability were cited as the primary obstacles to receiving care. Declines in the number of health visits have likely contributed to declines across key health indicators. PERC researchers advocate for urgent investment to stabilize health systems and regain progress lost during the pandemic.

“The PERC data enable policymakers to both save lives and minimize impacts on livelihoods,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “The global community has an opportunity to invest in health care workers and public health infrastructure to support vaccine delivery and COVID-19 care and prevention in the near term, and also repair and restore health service delivery disrupted by COVID-19 for the long term.”

Based on their findings, PERC authors recommend:

·    The global community should support AU Member States in supplying vaccines at a better coordinated and more systematic pace to allow broader, more effective and equitable distribution. Resources and expertise to support vaccine delivery must be part of the supply machinery to ensure coverage.

·    COVID-19 preventive measures (described as public health and social measures, or PHSMs, in the report) are critical to mitigate COVID-19 transmission, particularly as new, possibly more transmissible, variants emerge in under-vaccinated populations. Promoting adherence must remain a top priority.

·    Ministries of Health have competing priorities—both maintaining longer-term investments in endemic diseases, such as HIV and tuberculosis, and preparing for and responding to immediate epidemics, such as yellow fever, Ebola and measles. Investments in preparing health security systems can be utilized both for COVID-19-specific responses and long-term priorities.

·    Strengthening health data systems to be better prepared for health threats is critical. It is important that investments prioritize epidemiological data, as well as contextual data and data on community perceptions and actions toward countermeasures for disease mitigation and prevention. Together with the data itself, timely collection, analysis and dissemination are integral to systems strengthening and emergency response.

·    The global community and national governments should invest—to the fullest extent possible—in public health infrastructure and social protection programs that build and maintain resilience, in order to improve health and economic outcomes and reduce the opportunity costs of vaccination and PHSM adherence. 

The PERC survey—the fourth in its “Using Data to Find a Balance” series—was fielded in September, when many countries in Africa were recovering from a third wave of COVID-19 driven by the Delta variant and before the emergence of the Omicron variant. PERC polled approximately 23,000 people across 19 African Union Member States; compiled social, economic and epidemiological data from a range of sources; and compared results from previous surveys conducted in February 2021 and August 2020. A French version of the report will be available in January 2022.

To read the full report, please visit: https://preventepidemics.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/PERC-Finding-the-Balance-Part-IV.pdf

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of PERC.

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies, focuses on preventing deaths from cardiovascular disease and by preventing epidemics. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To find out more, visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL and @DrTomFrieden.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by equitable and effective public health systems. We work with governments and civil society in more than 70 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

About NASEM

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) are private, nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world. Our work helps shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine. The National Academies do not receive direct appropriations from the federal government, although many of their activities are mandated and funded by Congress and federal agencies. NASEM also works with Foundations, state governments, the private sector, and philanthropy from individuals to enable them to address critical issues on behalf of the nation.

About the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team

The UK-PHRST is funded by UK aid from the Department of Health and Social Care and is a partnership between the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). Through the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST), the UK has the capacity to respond rapidly to disease outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries around the world and conduct operational research into epidemic preparedness, playing an important role in global health security. The team also works to help countries to build their own capacity for an improved and rapid national response to outbreaks. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Department of Health and Social Care.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the third largest market research company in the world, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people. Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. Our 75 business solutions are based on primary data coming from our surveys, social media monitoring, and qualitative or observational techniques. “Game Changers”—our tagline—summarises our ambition to help our 5,000 clients navigate with confidence our world of rapid change. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since 1 July 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD). ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP https://www.ipsos.com/en/news-and-polls/overview.

About the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the World Economic Forum, acting as partner to the World Health Organization (WHO), launched the COVID Action Platform. The platform is intended to catalyse private-sector support for the global public health response to COVID-19, and to do so at the scale and speed required to protect lives and livelihoods, aiming to find ways to help end the global emergency as soon as possible. For more information, visit: https://www.weforum.org/

About the Word Health Organization

WHO is working with UNICEF, Gavi and partners to support all aspects of COVID-19 immunization in Africa, including capacity assessments, planning, advising on delivery strategies, regulatory mechanisms, ensuring adequate cold chain, training and supervision, data monitoring and surveillance, and communication including raising public awareness and promoting demand for vaccination. The WHO-founded Africa Infodemic Response Alliance (AIRA), a joint platform of 12 partner organisations is working to counter misinformation and disinformation and share science-based facts on health, including vaccines.

Media Contacts:

·    James Ayodele, Principal Communication Officer, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), Ayodelej@africa-union.org, +251 11 551 7700
·    Collins Boakye-Agyemang, Communications Officer, WHO Regional Office for Africa, boakyeagyemangc@who.int, +4724139420 or +242065206565
·    Steven Chlapecka, Resolve to Save Lives, schlapecka@resolvetosavelives.org, +1.917.623.0246
·    Christina Honeysett, Director of PR, Vital Strategies, CHoneysett@vitalstrategies.org, +1 914 424 3356
·    Amanda Russo, Head of Media Content, World Economic Forum, Amanda.Russo@weforum.org, +1 415 734 0589

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African Media Agency -English

Promoting African agency on the global stage: communicators gather in Rwanda to establish roadmap 

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KIGALI, Rwanda, 23 May 2022 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The flagship event of Africa Communications Week 2022 hosted by KGL FWD with support from Africa No Filter and RwandAir will take place on 23 and 24 May 2022. The event brings together Africa focused communications professionals across Rwanda and other parts of the continent to discuss how communication can strategically position African nations on the global stage, thereby strengthening their transformation agenda. 

Recent global governance issues such as climate, public health, trade, and security, have demonstrated that African actors are not passive agents in international relations. Strategic communication plays a fundamental role in improving their capabilities to exert various levels of agency and, increasingly, set the terms of engagement.

“Far too often, Africa has been framed as a place acted upon, not as a diverse continent with an evolving agenda of its own, however the increasing visibility of African leaders and experts in international organizations is bringing African narratives and interests into the mainstream” says Africa Communications Week co-founder Annie Mutamba.

Communicators from across the continent will gather in Kigali to identify concrete priority areas to promote African agency on the global stage. Working groups will be tasked to come up with clear, actionable recommendations for Africa-focused communicators to adopt.

“African agency should not be viewed as solely emanating from state actors. Africans from across public and private sector and civil society need to keep pushing for a seat at the table and this is where strategic communication can amplify their voice in shaping the global agenda.” Africa Communications Week co-founder Eniola Harrison explains

International speakers and facilitators at this year’s flagship event include Yolande Makolo (Rwanda Government Spokesperson), Mimi Kalinda (Africa Communications Media Group), Diana Mpyisi (Blue Oceans Rwanda), Nkiru Balonwu (Africa Soft Power Project), Uzo Madu (What’s in It for Africa), Joan Mazimhaka (Illume Creative Studio), Ndeye Diarra Diobaye (Euros Agency) and Fiona Kamikazi (PR Professional). 

“With today’s technology and digital communication tools Africa is able to talk to the world and we have more agency over what is said about us than ever before. Being able to come together and explore this as communications professionals from across the continent is a powerful and exciting opportunity. As KGL FWD, we are honored to be hosting this year’s Africa Communications Week flagship event and look forward to celebrating the evolution of our communications industry with the Rwanda Communications Network .” says Autumn Marie, managing director KGL FWD. 

Communication experts have a voice, they have resources and they have networks. They also need to be strategic and intentional about how they are deliberately shaping a narrative that is so vital to the transformation of the continent. As the world emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic, now more than ever, communicators should proactively support the economic recovery of the continent. 

Distributed by African Media Agency on behalf of Africa Communications Week.

About Africa Communications Week

Launched in 2017, Africa Communications Week is a bilingual (EN/FR) global movement building bridges between communications professionals committed to Africa’s transformation. AfricaCommsWeek is not meant exclusively for African professional but is open to international organisations and companies with a presence, a stake, interests or expertise in Africa 

AfricaCommsWeek’s mission is to empower and equip Africa-focused communications professionals with the tools and resources to change the current narratives about Africa. 

For Press Enquiries: 

info@africacommunicationsweek.com 

www.africacommunicationsweek.com 

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African Media Agency -English

Four tips for redeploying high-value skills within your organisation 

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 19th May 2022 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- The past two years have marked a seismic shift in the way companies manage, motivate, and retain their employees as hybrid work models and a more flexible work environment became commonplace. However, this has created new challenges, as many of the roles within the organisation changed or became obsolete.  

Genevieve Koolen, Human Resources Director at SAP Africa

According to Genevieve Koolen, Human Resources Director at SAP Africa, many companies are now having to implement strategies to redeploy skilled employees to other areas of the business. “What started out as an emergency measure to maintain productivity during the early stages of the pandemic has now become an embedded issue, where the duties of highly-skilled workers in some roles are being replaced or become entirely obsolete.” 

The changing role of managers 

One example of this change is the way managers are having to shift to other roles that don’t necessarily involve direct management of employees.  

“Companies have long taken a bums-in-seats approach to productivity and accountability that demanded that employees commute to a central office and work under the watchful gaze of their manager,” says Koolen. “One of the most surprising outcomes of the shift to work-from-home during the first year of the pandemic is the extent to which most professionals could self-manage. In some cases managers have become unnecessary to the smooth running of the business, resulting in a situation where their key skills need to be redeployed lest the business risks losing them to competitors.” 

According to Harvard Business Review, managers were traditionally selected and promoted based on their ability to manage and drive the performance of employees. However, the acceleration in the use of technology to improve workplace management combined with the impact of the pandemic has radically changed the situation at many organisations. 

Retaining high-value talent and experience 

“Managers and other high-value roles within organisations are having to shift focus and apply their skills in new areas,” says Koolen. “These changes are not always easy for either the employee or the organisation, but it is essential that companies implement policies and processes to retain their skills, as the employees often have extensive corporate knowledge that would take years for a replacement to learn.” 

According to Koolen, companies that can successfully redeploy these workers to other areas of the business will more easily retain their skills and ensure the organisation benefits from their expertise and experience.  

“Redeploying senior or specialist skills within the organisation can boost talent retention, drive cost savings, improve flexibility and efficiency and help build a more consistent company culture. However, it can be tricky to develop a strategy for redeployment that consistently delivers value to the business and employees.” 

Koolen offers four tips to assist organisations with developing a successful talent redeployment strategy: 

#1 Focus on skills, not tasks or titles 

Instead of trying to find a like-for-like role within the organisation – for example, a sales role in another department – focus on the employee’s skills and match those skills to another area of the business that can benefit from more access to those skills. “Managers, for example, often have inherent skills, experience and corporate knowledge that can help coach less experienced team members and enhance their capabilities, to the benefit of the broader organisation.” 

#2 Embed lifelong learning into the company culture 

According to McKinsey, one in sixteen workers will need to find a different occupation by 2030 as technology and other trends drive huge changes in how we work and what skills are required. “No one is immune to the disruptive influence of technology,” says Koolen. “Companies wishing to retain high-value skills in the long term must build a culture of lifelong learning that allows employees to continuously develop new skills and expertise that can add value in specific areas within the business.” 

#3 Accurately match skills to business needs 

Successful redeployment depends on having the right person at the right time for a specific task or duty. “In larger organisations, finding the right match is nearly impossible to do manually,” says Koolen. “Instead, companies need to build a comprehensive technology-led talent platform that brings visibility to the available skills within the organisation, and allows business and HR leaders to easily identify candidates for redeployment based on business and employee needs.” 

#4 Keep in tune with employee expectations  

New AI and analytics-driven employee experience tools can help companies keep their finger on the pulse of employee expectations by constantly getting real-time feedback on a broad spectrum of culture and workplace metrics. “Companies that can effectively use employee experience tools are more likely to take the right course of action to improve productivity, innovation, talent planning and people-led initiatives. When done well, this offers companies the opportunity to turn employees into ambassadors while driving positive business outcomes.” 

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of SAP Africa.

Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @SAPNews.

About SAP 

SAP’s strategy is to help every business run as an intelligent, sustainable enterprise. As a market leader in enterprise application software, we help companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: SAP customers generate 87% of total global commerce. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables business and public customers across 25 industries globally to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.   

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African Media Agency Partners with AFSIC one of the Largest Annual Events Showcasing Exceptional Opportunities Across the continent 

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The partnership aims to drive increased investment across the trade landscape in Africa and promote economic growth

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, 12 May 2022, /African Media Agency/-African Media Agency, a leading pan-African PR and communications firm, today announced its partnership with Africa’s most important conduits of investment into Africa, AFSIC – Investing in Africa. The partnership aims to promote visibility and strengthen conversations around the investment opportunity and trade landscape of the continent at AFSIC 2022.

AFSIC is believed to be the largest annual event bringing together African investors and investments taking place outside Africa and has become one of the most important conduits of investment into Africa. AFSIC 2022 is entirely focused on bringing together Africa’s business leaders and Africa’s most important investors and dealmakers. The event will showcase investment opportunities from across the whole of Africa demonstrating new investment opportunities, with focused streams in Banking, Informed Investing, Building, Fintech Innovation, Sustainable Growth, Agriculture, and Power.

“African countries with growing economies are integral to global economic development. Since our inception it has been our core value to change the narrative of Africa by showcasing the development, innovation, and opportunity across the continent. AFSIC is the most accomplished investment event for the continent, and a meeting place for influential players in African business. Events like AFSIC provide the perfect forum for facilitating new conversations and relationships that promote economic success all over Africa. We are delighted to partner with AFSIC 2022.” Said CEO and Founder of African Media Agency, Eloïne Barry.

“I am excited about the potential of AFSIC once again providing an exceptional opportunity to network with sessions offering unparalleled opportunities to develop strong business relationships with investors, financial intermediaries and African business leaders through an array of multiple presentation and panel streams, discussions, networking events, exhibition stands, business match-making meetings and seminars.” Said Rupert McCammon, Managing Director of AFSIC
Since 2013, AFSIC continues to play a pivotal role as a business accelerator linking the different stakeholders of the international ecosystem, for more qualitative and inclusive growth. AFSIC 2022 is slated for 10 and 11 October 2022 in London.

Distributed by African Media Agency in partnership with AFSIC- Investing in Africa.

About African Media AgencyAfrican Media Agency (AMA) is an integrated communications agency that unifies PR, creative services, and digital marketing to create strategic, content-rich communications campaigns that inspire action and build value. With a footprint across Africa, we understand the dynamic of the African newsrooms, the challenges that journalists are going through, what makes a story interesting and the different styles and editorial cultures within the continent.

About AFSIC
AFSIC – Investing in Africa is a large-scale Event and Expo focused on matching business and investment opportunities in Africa. The event has grown over many years into one of the most important conduits of investment into Africa.

Notable characteristics include:

  • The event is attended by many of Africa’s most important investment firms
  • Networking is at the heart of AFSIC with multiple events allowing companies to meet appropriate investors
  • Dedicated Country Summits allow deep dives into some of Africa’s most important economies
  • Sector Focused workshops and sessions allow companies to focus on one or more of Africa’s high growth business sectors; e.g financial services, energy, agriculture, health etc.
  • Our sophisticated AFSIC African Investments Dashboard allows companies to upload investment propositions that can be viewed by Africa’s leading investors prior to AFSIC so that highly efficient investment meetings can be held within the AFSIC event to finalise investment deals
  • AFSIC – Investing in Africa builds on a massive network across Africa, and high profile digital platforms enabling companies to grow their business, trade and investment across the African continent

Media contact:Amy Minnie amy@amediaagency.com
Media contact:Olivia de Villiers olivia@africaninvestments.co

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