The UK government on Wednesday said it has donated Ksh2.6 billion ($26 million) to help cushion Africa from the effects of Covid-19.
The money, to be channelled through the African Union, will fund the training of health professionals in member states to handle pandemics.
The deployment of experts will be done through the Africa Centres for Disease and Control Prevention (Africa CDC), which currently has about 800 voluntary health corps.
The money is the highest amount so far deposited into the continental kitty, Africa Covid-19 Fund, which was established by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, currently the Chairperson of the African Union.
The Fund was set up in April with an initial funding of $12.5 million. It had raised $38 million by end of April.
The UK government says the money will also be used to strengthen global tracking of the pandemic and combat misinformation to the public.
It seeks to make information more accessible, create awareness through weekly virtual meetings for African clinicians, publish technical guidelines in AU languages, and convene AU member states to agree on a continental response to the virus.
Ms Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the UK International Development Secretary, said the funding is part of global efforts to help stop infections from rising.
“No one is safe until we all are safe, and this new funding and support for African leadership will help protect us all from further spread of the virus,” she said in a statement.
In Kenya, the Africa CDC has supported the Covid-19 response through donation of 1,400 laboratory test kits following the first confirmed cases in March.
“The UK stands with Kenya as we fight this threat together. The African Union, and their public health agency Africa CDC, are at the forefront of the continental response, providing strong African-led leadership and technical advice from which we all stand to benefit,” British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott said.
The support from the UK comes after it had pledged about Ksh95 billion ($950 million) to fight coronavirus internationally. This big boost together with UKAid funding of Ksh99 billion ($990 million) will help vulnerable countries in fighting the virus as well as strengthen health systems.
It is predicted that an upsurge in the number of confirmed cases could overwhelm healthcare systems if they are ill prepared.
Africa has so far recorded 91,598 confirmed cases, 2,912 deaths and 35,808 recoveries.
The UKAid money will also be used to help in the search for a vaccine, provide important humanitarian relief to the most vulnerable, strengthen global healthcare systems and manage any possible risk of a global collapse of the economy.