Our Global CEO Dr. Githinji Gitahi grew up in a family of coffee farmers in Kenya who made less than $200 per year. Today, he is a MD, has held many senior roles across the public and private sector, is a member of the Africa CDC Governing Board, and more.
Recently, he was appointed by the African Union as Commissioner in the newly created Commission on African COVID-19 Response, led by the President of South Africa.
The Commission’s mandate is two-fold: 1) identify gaps in the continental COVID-19 response strategy and propose evidence-based interventions within the scope of practice of the Commission, and 2) generate evidence to assess the impact of COVID-19 on social and economic harm on the continent and propose ways to a strong recovery.
‘‘The rising surges of COVID-19 in various Africa countries continues to be a growing concern, particularly for health systems that are being pushed to a breaking point as well as for Africa’s social and economic health and recovery. In many of these African countries, oxygen is running out, hospital beds are full and there are no vaccines available for those who need them most. In addition to the disease burden, communities have suffered a great social and economic burden especially born by women, girls, and children. A lot needs to be done to mitigate the outcomes for the health and well-being of Africans during these uncertain, and unprecedented times and I’m confident that the commission under the leadership of H.E Cyril Ramaphosa will be a great addition to the continuing laudable response on COVID-19 in the continent witnessed since the first case in Africa,” said Dr Gitahi.
After the announcement, Dr. Gitahi was interviewed by The New York Times and featured on CNN Newsroom with Michael Holmes about #VaccineEquity, and his quote “a vaccine delayed, is a vaccine denied” was the NYT Quotation of the Day.
Since COVID-19 was declared an emergency by the World Health Organization, Dr. Gitahi has contributed to national, regional, and global discussions aimed at empowering communities and governments with key information about COVID-19.
Under his leadership, Amref Health Africa has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response in Africa, sharing technical expertise and leveraging its strong relationships with communities. Amref has been responding to the pandemic in 10 countries across East, West and Southern Africa. These include Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, Senegal, and Guinea. By sharing its technical expertise and leveraging its strong relationships with communities, Amref has contributed to shaping the national strategy on COVID-19.
We feel proud to say that no other organization is playing a more critical role in the fight for vaccine equity in Africa than we are.