Swift response to emerging infectious diseases has been prioritized by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) as part of efforts to enhance the resilience of the continent’s public health systems, a senior official said Sunday.
Jean Kaseya, the director-general of Africa CDC, said that a robust, adequately resourced, timely and well-coordinated response to the continent’s public health emergencies including disease outbreaks is an imperative.
Speaking on the sidelines of the mid-year coordination summit of the African Union held in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, Kaseya stressed that taming Africa’s high disease burden is key to realizing growth and prosperity.
Based on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa CDC is helping countries develop contingency plans in readiness for future disease outbreaks to avert mass fatalities and strain on public health facilities, Kaseya said.
In addition, Kaseya said, the Africa CDC is also partnering with regional blocs to strengthen research, surveillance, reporting and monitoring of infectious diseases like Ebola, Marburg virus, Rift Valley fever and Malaria.
He added that improving local manufacturing of vaccines, therapeutics and protective gear will also strengthen the capacity of African countries to respond to health emergencies.
As an autonomous continental public health agency of the African Union, the Africa CDC supports member states to strengthen the resilience of their public health systems through surveillance, emergency response and control of diseases.
Kaseya said that targeted funding, policy reforms, partnerships, collaborative research and public awareness are key to revitalizing action on disease outbreaks in the continent.
Governments of African countries should increase budgetary support for health while tapping into digital tools in a bid to improve disease surveillance, diagnosis and treatment, he added.