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Africa CDC at 7: DG rolls out achievements


Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Wednesday January 31, rolled out the drums to mark its 7th anniversary as a specialized technical institution of the African Union with a mandate to tackle health-related issues across the continent.
At a ceremony to mark the occasion in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa CDC Director General, Dr Jean Kaseya, recalled the story of the centre from its establishment in January 2016 to its autonomy in 2022 as the continental health agency of the AU.
“The journey of Africa CDC is a captivating story that weaves together self-reliance, sovereignty, and the continent’s relentless pursuit of a New Public Health Order to shape its destiny on its own terms. It’s a matter of great pride to see our Africa CDC growing and thriving and achieving more than what one has ever thought of in just seven years of its existence. In these seven years,” he told guests at the ceremony.
Dr. Kaseya reeled out the institution’s monumental achievements in it’s 7 years of existence, especially its interventions during public health emergencies across the continent, saying, “We have transformed from being a specialised health agency into an autonomous health institution of the Union, overseen by a committee of Heads of State and Government. In Just seven years. Some of the achievements, according to him include:
• Providing assistance to member states in addressing three significant public health emergencies of international concern: the Ebola outbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Mpox crisis, saying: “We have steered the continent’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and launched several key initiatives, including the Africa Medical Supplies Platform and the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust.
• Establishment of an effective platform for disease surveillance, outbreak response, and capacity-building through the collaborative efforts of AU Member States, regional institutions, and global partners.
• Advocating a new Public Health Order for Africa by “emphasising the necessity for a fundamental shift in our approach to public health on the continent (and) calling for Africa to take its health security in its own hands, with a focus on strong local leadership, innovative solutions, investment in comprehensive public health infrastructure, and self-reliance.”
The Africa CDC DG assured of the institution’s resolve to ensure vaccine-reliance in the continent. He said: “We are aiming high. Vaccine self-reliance is on the horizon, with a target set by the African Union to produce 60% of our vaccines by 2040. We endeavor to recruit two million community health workers, ensuring that every African has access to the health care they deserve.”
He assured that Africa CDC would fully implement its 2023-2027 strategic plan in response to continental priorities in Agenda 2063.
“As we undertake this endeavor, we will employ a cohesive approach of “one budget, work plan, and one report… As we look ahead, we build our actions on the foundations of our core principles – the 5 Cs: Community, Connectivity, Capacity, Collaboration, and Climate. These pillars have anchored our journey and will continue to guide us as we strive to build a New Public Health Order for Africa,” he said.
A proud Dr. Kaseya then announces the naming of the two wings of the new Africa CDC headquarters after its “two remarkable champions who have left an indelible mark on the establishment and advancement of Africa CDC.”
He announced that the first wing would be named after Madam Nkosozana Zuma, the former Chair of the African Union Commission, who initially championed the establishment of Africa CDC. while the second wing would bear the name of Amb. John Nkengasong, “who served as the inaugural Director of Africa CDC and whose exceptional leadership guided the institution through the challenging days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The naming of these buildings serves as a tangible embodiment of their enduring legacy, a testament to their unwavering commitment to safeguarding the health of every African citizen.

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