By Prince Osuagwu
AS the world battles to put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, the crypto market is pulling together to ensure resources are constantly available to frontline workers, especially in Africa.
Eleven countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and Egypt which may be affected by the lopsided distribution of vaccines, are getting needed help from Binance Charity, a philanthropic arm of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
The charity organisation made the world’s first crypto donation of $1 million to the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The objective is to help deliver COVID-19 vaccines to communities in 11 countries by the end of 2021. The gesture is part of the Crypto Against COVID campaign by Binance Charity, which has donated $4 million USD towards the global battle against COVID in over 20 countries.
The organisation aims to revolutionise traditional giving, providing a transparent donation process made possible by its blockchain technology. Behind the scenes, every donation is encrypted on an immutable public ledger that generates a transaction ID. Donors can use this ID to track every step of the donation.
Head of Binance Charity, Helen Hai, said: “ At Binance Charity our mission is to amplify the use of this cutting-edge technology for social good, and with COVID-19’s unprecedented arrival and starting spread, we have provided a trustworthy approach to remedying the spread of the pandemic”
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said: “Although progress is being made, many African countries have barely moved beyond the starting line. Limited stocks and supply bottlenecks are putting COVID-19 vaccines out of reach of many people in this region. Fair access to vaccines must be a reality if we are to collectively make a dent on this pandemic”.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Africa has only received less than two percent of the 690 million COVID-19 doses, and most countries on the continent received vaccines in very small quantities as of April.
In the same month, forty-five African countries were reported to have received vaccines, 43 of them have begun vaccinations, and nearly 13 million of the 31.6 million doses delivered so far have been administered. However, the WHO said the pace of vaccine rollout is not uniform with 93 percent of the doses given in 10 countries.
The delays are not only affecting vaccine delivery to priority targets but expanding vaccinations to the rest of the population, some of whom have expressed eagerness to receive the doses. WHO set a target to start vaccinating health workers and other priority groups in all countries in the first 100 days of 2021.
Binance Charity supported African countries with personal protective equipment to combat COVID-19 and mitigate its effects in developing countries. Nigeria received the most equipment donation with 30,400 KN95 masks, Ghana got 20,000 KN95 masks; and South Africa, 15,000 PPE suits and 9,600 KN95 masks.