In 2014, the Ebola epidemic shook parts of West Africa. With 28 616 reported cases and 11 310 deaths, the epidemic exposed the vulnerable public health infrastructure across the continent.The mere fact that our continent does not have a holistic public health infrastructure even with a continental organ exposed a serious overlook of our infrastructural systems and inclusive institutions.
The formation towards a public health agency began in 2013, a few months shy of the epidemic in West Africa and came into fruition this past Tuesday. The Africa CDC is set to assist member states respond to public health emergencies. It will be funded by an annual contribution from the overall African Union operating budget for 2016 with aim to safeguard Africa’s health.
From the African Union Ministers of Health meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea last year, where the Statute of the Africa CDC was adopted, legitimate progress has been made. Five regional collaborating centers are set to work with the African CDC coordinating centre in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, and an emergency operations centre has been set up in Ethiopia’s capital – at the AU headquarters. In addition, 10 qualified epidemiologists will be monitoring for disease threats across the continent – focusing on disease surveillance, investigations, analysis, reporting trends and anomalies.
The Africa CSC will join international networks of public health institutions, and is directed by seasons virologist Dr John Nkengasong.