The state of emergency associated with the pandemic may be over, COVID-19 is here to stay. Between 2020 and early 2021, we saw the harshest impact of COVID-19, with millions of people acquiring COVID-19 despite our use of tools such as social distancing, masking and sanitising. Millions died due to COVID-19 complications and limited therapeutic interventions.
In 2023, many developed countries who had reached over 70% vaccination coverage called for the end of the pandemic and were rewarded with a declaration in May by the head of WHO of the end to COVID-19 as a public health emergency. However, he also stressed that the declaration does not mean the disease is no longer a global threat; the continuous evolution of COVID-19 reduces the protection offered by current vaccines against infection and mild disease and there are ongoing concerns that COVID-19 and its variants will continue to evolve, with the latest sub-variants causing a rise in infections globally as recently as November 2022.
While developed countries are better equipped to manage COVID-19 without the need for states of emergency or strict lockdown rules, this is not the case for everyone and certainly not for Africa. The true end of the pandemic can only happen if there is equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatment in all countries globally.
Sexual and reproductive health refer to a person’s physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to all aspects of sexuality and reproduction, not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity. A positive approach to sexuality and reproduction should recognise the part played by pleasurable sexual relationships, trust, and communication in promoting self-esteem and overall well-being.
Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) refers to everyone’s right to have full control over their body, sexuality, health and relationships. People have the right to make free and informed decisions about all things related to their sexuality and reproduction without any form of discrimination, coercion, violence and other rights violations (or threats of).
The African Alliance works actively and consciously with power, careful of our own effect on the systems we operate within. Critical to our approach is working actively to elevate the voices of those who are ignored or made invisible in traditional civil society practice and ensuring that the diversity of African voices are heard clearly and that Africans who contribute to knowledge generation, particularly for the development or advancement of global public goods, benefit equally from these technologies.