South Africa Cape Town


COVID-19: Africa's Vaccine Challenge

Hosted by the Department of Health Policy

Online public event


Dr Fifa Rahman

Dr Fifa Rahman

Permanent Representative for NGOs for the WHO-backed ACT-Accelerator

Dr Monique Wasunna

Dr Monique Wasunna

Director, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative – Africa Regional Office

Dr Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija

Dr Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija

Founder of the Nexus Hub


Dr Lucy Kanya

Dr Lucy Kanya

Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, Department of Health Policy

The Department of Health Policy at the London School of Economics (LSE) is organising this panel discussion together with LSE’s Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa, Global Health Initiative, and the African Health Observatory - Platform on Health Systems and Policies.

This event will ask what vaccine (and heath technology) equity means for global management of the pandemic, and what challenges remain for health systems as vaccine rollout is operationalised.

The panel will explore the upstream and downstream access and distribution policies that are starting to be employed to combat COVID-19 in the region. As well as asking how other essential health services (such as routine immunization) do not suffer.

The discussion will be followed by an audience Q&A.

About the speakers: 

Dr Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija (MSc Public Health in Developing Countries, 1994) is the founder of the Nexus Hub, an innovation centre, research, social development and emergency response unit for the West Africa/Sahel region headquartered in Abuja, Nigeria. She is a published researcher and in collaboration with the World Health Organization and UNICEF has led multi-country behavioural health surveys across several nations in the Pacific Region. Dr Alakija is currently Co-Chair of the Africa Union Africa Vaccine Delivery Alliance for COVID-19 (AVDA), serves on the Global advisory board of WomenLift health and is Chief Strategist CONVINCE Africa. She is also the former Chief Humanitarian Coordinator for the government of Nigeria and led the joint national and international humanitarian response in the Lake Chad region between 2016-2019.

Fifa A Rahman MHL (Health Law), PhD has over 12 years’ experience working in global health. She is presently civil society representative on the WHO Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator), leading work on ensuring wider access for COVID rapid diagnostics, improving health systems, eliminating vaccine manufacturing bottlenecks. She is founder and Principal Consultant at Matahari Global Solutions, supporting organisations on TB strategy development, and leading work on racism in global health, assessing impact of COVID-19 on TB and HIV services, and mapping developments on health systems strengthening in COVID-19. She was formerly Board Member for NGOs at Unitaid, working on equitable access to HIV, TB, malaria, and cervical cancer tools. She was also head of policy for the Malaysian AIDS Council, working on discrimination against PLHIV, decriminalisation of drug use, and intellectual property and access to medicines. She has been on numerous missions to HIV facilities globally, including to early infant diagnosis programmes in Mozambique, HIV self-testing programmes in rural areas of Zimbabwe, and needle-and-syringe programmes in Scott County, Indiana, at the height of the HIV epidemic. 

Dr Monique Wasunna is the Director, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, Africa Regional Office, Nairobi. She is a physician, an infectious disease and tropical medicine specialist. She holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree from the University of Nairobi, an MSc and a PhD in medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London and a diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the Royal College of Physicians of London. She is well published in peer review journals. She is a member of the Kenya Medical Association, Kenya Association of Physicians and a fellow of the East Central and Sothern Africa College of Physicians. She is a recipent of several local, regional and international awards. She is a member of the Technical Working Group Science Standards and Regulations of the Africa CDC and a member of the African Vaccine Delivery Alliance of the Africa CDC. 

About the Chair:

Dr Lucy Kanya has a health economics and policy background with experience working in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has in the past worked on the evaluation of health financing programmes in Kenya and Uganda. She has also worked in operational research and evaluation programs on maternal and new-born child health, integrated sexual reproductive health and HIV/AIDS; and malaria programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa. Before joining the LSE, she held research positions at the Health Economics Research Group (HERG), Brunel University, London and Population Council, Kenya.

Photo by Tim Johnson on Unsplash

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