Seed named major partner in ground-breaking initiative led by The African Union’s COVID-19 Commission to build “a fit-for-purpose health workforce that can sustain Universal Health Coverage in Africa” with inaugural support of The Serum Institute of India

Spread the love

Seed Global Health a major partner in ground-breaking initiative led by The African Union’s COVID-19 Commission with inaugural support of The Serum Institute of India to build “a fit-for-purpose health workforce that can sustain Universal Health Coverage in Africa.”

Seed Global Health has signed an MOU with the Secretariat of the African Union COVID-19 Commission Task Team on Health Workforce. This initiative is in support of the Africa CDC and the African Union’s efforts, which will aim to develop a comprehensive framework to build out the full African healthcare workforce required for economic recovery and global health security. Health workforce development is a critical pillar of the AU’s New Public Health Order towards universal health coverage, pandemic preparedness and health security.

The continental initiative, developed by the AU COVID-19 Commission chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa was tabled by the President at the 35th Assembly of the AU Heads of State to secure a mandate that would prioritize the health workforce agenda and maintain political attention on the issue. The Serum Institute of India (SII) has provided an initial $2,500,000 to kickstart the initiative by supporting the Africa CDC and Seed Global Health teams’ programmatic work, public engagement and consensus building. 

President Ramaphosa has welcomed the establishment of this ground-breaking partnership, saying: “The pandemic has taught us the necessity of a multi sectoral approach to health care. I am therefore very pleased to see that Serum has adopted this mindset as the producer of medical countermeasures, understanding that it is the health workforce that ultimately delivers these lifesaving tools to the people. We therefore welcome this contribution to kickstart the continental health workforce initiative and call on businesses, donors and other investors to follow Serum’s example.” Read President Ramaphosa’s press statement here

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India, said: “We have a long history of providing healthcare support in Africa, including billions of affordable routine vaccines against diseases such as measles and polio, and the development of new vaccines to protect against meningitis and malaria. 

“But the pandemic has taught us the need not only for life saving medicines but for the life-saving health workers to administer them. “This is why today we’re very proud to announce our inaugural funding for the AU Health Workforce Task Team, which we hope will mark the first step in the building of the African healthcare workforce of the future.

“Today’s announcement should also act as a global rallying cry to governments, charities and companies alike to step forward and contribute to this historic process and empower the experts at the African Union and Seed Global Health to make this lasting systemic change. This will not only help to ensure more people in Africa get vaccinated to finally end the acute phase of Covid-19 and also prepare the continent for the health threats of tomorrow.”

Dr Ahmed E. Ogwell Ouma, Acting Director of Africa CDC has welcomed this investment, adding: “Africa CDC welcomes the support from the Serum Institute of India to support a key pillar of Africa’s New Public Health Order. This is also in line with our vision of respectful and action-oriented partnerships.” 

Seed Global Health is a major partner in this pioneering initiative, partnering with the AU to shape the Task Team Secretariat to champion the design, buy-in and resourcing for the proposed centralized framework that will act as a catalyst for other investors, philanthropies and governments to step forward and help build the systems needed to recover from COVID-19 and build back transformatively toward the sustainable development goals.

Drawing on long experience in global health workforce strengthening, Seed will chair the Resource Mobilization Reference Group to support the COVID-19 Commission Task Team on Health Workforce in designing, planning, mobilization of resources, and implementation of the Task Team’s mandate. Seed will also collaborate with the COVID-19 Commission to inform policy and decision-making that support human resources for health investments and progress, and build and sustain long-term partnerships with stakeholders involved in and impacting health workforce policy, planning, and financing for the continent. 

This initiative comes at a momentous time for Seed Global Health as the organization celebrates ten years of building complete health workforce teams through critical work in education, policy, and practice on a global scale. Since 2012, Seed has created durable, fundamental change in seven focal countries, working with more than 30 institutional partners and training almost 40,000 skilled health workers. Seed’s skilled team and globally recognized leadership will support the mandate through high level policy analysis and action dedicated to building consensus and support for the initiative. 

Dr. Vanessa Kerry, CEO and founder of Seed Global Health, said: “We are grateful to Serum Institute of India for their inspiring commitment which helps champion the audacious but necessary investments in the health workforce. Having worked alongside partners to help train over 36,000 health workers to meet patients’ needs, Seed has seen first hand the damaging impact of not having enough health workers. COVID has exponentially exacerbated the crisis. Governments have committed to vaccine donations but rarely to the essential human resource infrastructure needed to deliver them. The compact is ambitious–we should be too. It will require historic up-front investment as well as investments in Universal Health Coverage grounded in the principles of access, quality, and financial protection.”

Read more about how Seed Global Health is changing the face of health workforces worldwide in the 2021 annual statement


The AU COVID-19 Commission

The AU COVID-19 Commission was established by H.E. President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa upon his appointment as AU COVID-19 Champion in 2021. The Commission is mandated to support His Excellency in his role by guiding the core response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the continent and to propose ways towards strong socioeconomic recovery for the continent. The Secretariat of the Commission comprises the Office of the Presidency in South Africa and Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). 

Seed Global Health

Seed Global Health, led by Dr. Vanessa Kerry, works in partnership with governments and academic institutions to train health workers across countries on the African continent – to date, that includes over 36,000 healthcare professionals who serve catchments of more than 70 million people. As a social enterprise, we are united in the belief that quality, dignified healthcare can and should be accessible for all. We have seen first-hand how dedication, discipline, and long-term investments in the health workforce can improve health outcomes in any setting.

Serum Institute of India

Driven by the philanthropic philosophy of affordable vaccines, Serum Institute of India Pvt, Ltd. is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally (more than 1.5 billion doses), supplying the world’s least expensive and WHO-accredited vaccines to as many as 170 countries. It was founded in 1966 with the aim of manufacturing lifesaving immunobiological drugs including vaccines worldwide. With a strong commitment towards global health, the institute’s objective has been proliferated by bringing down the prices of newer vaccines such as such as Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hib, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccines. SII is credited with bringing world-class technology to India, through its state-of-the-art equipped multifunctional production facility in Manjari, Pune and government agencies to transform emergency medicine and critical care along with spearheading the race of vaccine development against the COVID-19 pandemic. Serum Life Sciences Ltd is a subsidiary company of Serum Institute of India, with a global sales office in London to market COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Serum Institute of India.

Contact: Tenly Snow 
Media & Communications
Seed Global Health 
+1 (406) 544-4856


Sign up to get our stories delivered straight to your inbox.

Get in touch

For more information about getting involved with Seed, partnership opportunities, or making a gift, please send us a brief message.

Contact Us

Support our work

Your tax deductible gift advances equitable, high-quality health care across Africa for those who need it most.


Stay informed

Sign-up to receive the latest about our work and other news in global health from Seed Global Health’s newsletter.

Sign Up