MTN funded Covid vaccines arrive in Ghana

Ralph Mupita MTN.jpg

Covid vaccinations funded by MTN Group are now being rolled out in Ghana, with further doses planned for Middle East markets in the coming months.

Following a public private partnership with the African Union, MTN pledged a total of seven million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine for health workers on the continent, of which the first 165,000 arrived in the west African country earlier this week.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Ghana has recorded 89,893 cases of Covid-19 and 734 deaths. More than 400,000 vaccines have been administered in the country to date.

The telco giant confirmed it had partnered with the African Union’s vaccination programme at the end of January.

The group donated US$25 million to support AU's vaccination rollout across 55 member states; enough to fund seven million vaccine doses for health workers, which in turn supports the work of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

MTN's president and chief executive, Ralph Mupita (pictured), said in January: "The devastating impact of Covid-19 has been unprecedented and profound. Public and private partnerships are needed if we are to succeed in the fight against the pandemic and restore social and economic norms for our continent and our communities."

The African Union secured a provisional 270 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, through what it called "advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to $2 billion to the manufacturers by the African Export-Import Bank". However, it isn't enough to achieve 60% herd immunity across a population of 1.3 billion.

AU said at the time: "Contributions by private organisations, like MTN… are essential to help the continent reach its target."

Mupita added: “We believe ongoing collaborations with key stakeholders across sectors are essential as vaccines are deployed in all our markets, with communication tools, technology and digital services being vital support infrastructure for a successful mass vaccination programme.

“In the coming months, MTN Group will look at similar support commitments for the markets in which we operate in the Middle East.”