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#Amreflects: 2021 in Review

#Amreflects: 2021 in Review

Pictured: CHW Patrick Malachi in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya (c) Brian Otieno, 2021

In a year that saw Africa battle second, third and fourth waves of COVID-19, there was a continued need for Amref's expertise across the continent.

We scaled up our response to the pandemic – including supporting the continent’s drive to vaccinate its citizens. We also worked to support and strengthen the many other health services that are under-resourced and under pressure. Because while COVID-19 continues to make headlines here in the UK, we are reminded every day that it’s not the only public health emergency the continent is dealing with.

It was another challenging year for the Amref Health Africa family - but it wasn't without its successes and moments of lightness. Here are ten of the moments and milestones that defined our 2021.


Did you know? The WHO designated 2021 as the International Year of Health and Care Workers. For Amref Health Africa, that's true every year!

Throughout 2021, health workers were at the heart of our response to COVID-19. By the end of August, we had trained 290,000 health workers across the continent in COVID-related topics, as well as providing more than 111,000 with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

With only one in four African health workers vaccinated against COVID-19, there is an urgent need to ramp up support for those on the frontlines of the pandemic.


Our long-standing partnership with GSK evolved again to meet changing needs. In January, we launched a new programme tackling TB and malaria in Ethiopia and Kenya. Progress made towards eradicating both diseases has been slowed – and in some cases, reversed – as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, making this programme particularly timely.

Pictured: A new mother and her baby in Makueni County, Kenya (c) Jeroen van Loon, 2019



The Piwa Maleng (“Our Clean Water”) programme came to a close, having established access to safe water for 14,700 people living in 45 villages in Amuru District, Uganda. The number of people in these villages who have access to safe water rose from 32% to 98% during the project's lifespan.

The programme was funded by a major trust supporter – and will be succeeded by Piwa Maleng II, a £2.5 million, five-year programme combining WASH interventions with efforts to prevent sexual and gender-based violence in Amuru District.


We launched the Vaccine Solidarity with Africa campaign and have been overwhelmed by the warm reception it has received from supporters and partners. It's fantastic to see so many people join the global call for vaccine equity. You can add your voice by signing our petition or by making a gift.


We reached a new milestone in our relationship with People's Postcode Lottery: they kindly granted us an Extra Award of £100,000 on top of their existing support.

In the meantime, the Sport for Health programme, in Nairobi, adapted to the COVID-19 context and continued, ensuring that girls and young women living in informal settlements could access reliable SRHR information and claim their rights.

Pictured: A taekwondo tournament held in Nairobi as part of the Sport for Health programme, December 2020 (c) Khadija Farah



Media from the UK and around the world were keen to hear from African experts about what was really happening on the ground. In 2021, members of the Amref family spoke to The Guardian, Channel 4, the Financial Times, Sky News, CNN International, and more: taking a bold stance on vaccine (in)equity and showcasing the complex reality of vaccination efforts across the continent.


The Uzazi Uzima programme in Tanzania closed in December 2021, having supported nurses, clinicians, and CHWs, local and regional health management teams, and health facilities since 2017 to reduce maternal and new-born mortality and morbidity among communities in Simiyu Region.


Amref’s Global End-FGM/C Advisor Nice Leng’ete wrote a book!

‘The Girls in the Wild Fig Tree’ was published in the UK in mid-September, and we celebrated with a launch event hosted by Sky News’ Kimberley Leonard.


In parallel, our community-centred end-FGM/C work continued. 2021 saw the launch of two new end-FGM/C programmes: one in Kajiado County, Kenya, integrating end-FGM/C work with WASH activities; as well as the UK government-funded ‘Support for the Africa-led Movement to End FGM/C’ (ALM) programme. In the first quarter of 2022, the ALM programme is set to facilitate 400 inter-generational dialogues between community members and to develop a girl-centred curriculum which will be delivered to boys and girls through in-and-out of school settings, while supporting Narok County in the development of County-level Anti-FGM/C laws and policies.


And finally . . .

We launched our shiny new website, developed with the generous backing of People’s Postcode Lottery, and with input from partners and supporters. Our aim was to create a site that not only showcases our work – and the stories and perspectives of the people we support – but to make it easier for you to engage with Amref, whatever form your support might take.

We’d love to hear what you think!

CHW Fatuma Ajeeb at Amref Kibera Community Health Centre, Nairobi, March 2021 (c) Brian Otieno
CHW Fatuma Ajeeb at Amref Kibera Community Health Centre, Nairobi, March 2021 (c) Brian Otieno

Looking forward

Heading into 2022, COVID-19 will continue to define our work. Amref Health Africa will keep adapting our activities as the pandemic’s trajectory evolves. We already know that supporting vaccination efforts will be a key pillar of our work in 2022. This means:

  • Supporting planning and coordination at national and sub-national level,
  • Capacity-building for all stakeholders (health workforce and policy-makers),
  • Outreach / demand creation: taking the vaccine to the people,
  • Supporting treatment centres.

Festive COVID-19 vaccination drive in eight hard-to-reach districts in Uganda

Over Christmas and New Year, the Amref Uganda team was working hard to bring the vaccine to communities.

Here in the UK, our number one priority remains advocating for Vaccine Solidarity with Africa: and we need you to amplify that message. We hope we can count on your continued support so that no-one is left behind.

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