African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (African CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) today launched the Health Security Partnership to strengthen disease surveillance and outbreak intelligence in Africa. The partnership aims to strengthen Africa’s health security capabilities in the areas of biosecurity, integrated disease surveillance, event-based surveillance, genomic surveillance and epidemiological intelligence. The partnership seeks to foster strong country leadership. The first phase will be implemented in six African Union member states including The Gambia, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Tunisia and South Africa, and will later expand to additional countries.
Enhanced disease surveillance is a fundamental requirement for health security. Over the past decade, considerable progress has been made in disease surveillance across Africa, but it is worth noting that it experiences more epidemics and other health emergencies than others, many of which can be prevented or controlled with proven public health interventions. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role of the public health laboratory in surveillance, as well as the need for advances in data collection, management, reporting, and dissemination to ensure evidence-based policymaking during health security emergencies.
In response, the Partnership for Health Security in Africa is working to improve integrated disease surveillance capabilities across the continent to better detect, confirm and communicate threats to health security. “The project consultation and multi-country kick-off meeting is a significant milestone towards strengthening the surveillance and reporting capabilities of the epidemic in Africa. It provides a platform for sharing experiences and best practices, which will be critical to the success of the project,” said Dr. Yenew Kebede, Head of Laboratory Systems and Networks at the Africa CDC.
With a shared commitment to support African countries in strengthening health systems and safeguarding public health, the WHO Regional Offices for Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean are working closely with the African CDC under the Joint Emergency Action Plan (Yep) framework to strengthen public health surveillance, promote regional cooperation and address health challenges in Africa. The Partnership for Health Security in Africa will contribute to the overall framework of cooperation by achieving concrete results in the areas of emergency preparedness and response, surveillance and laboratory capabilities, and help protect the health of people in Africa through a better coordinated and more resilient health system.
“Our collective ability to prevent, prepare for and respond to sound security emergencies remains critical to keeping our communities safe,” said Sara Hersey, Director of Collaborative Intelligence at WHO Pandemic and Outbreak Intelligence Centre. “Through this partnership, WHO remains committed to working with Member States to systematically strengthen our capacity and collaboration across stakeholders, sectors and borders for more effective and collaborative disease surveillance in Africa.”
Funded by the Government of Canada’s gun threat reduction program and aligned with health security goals A global partnership led by the G7 Against the proliferation of weapons and materials of mass destruction, the Partnership for Health Security in Africa marks a collective commitment to cooperation at the health security interface and will play a catalytic role in accelerating the building and pooling of capabilities and expertise for disease surveillance and outbreak information in and for Africa.
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