Senior staff members of the African Union (AU) on Thursday were busy on the second day of their meeting in the Tanzanian offshore island of Zanzibar to complete plans and procedures for rapid response by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (AfricaCDC) .
At their Summit in January 2015, AU Heads of State and Government established the AfricaCDC, which is due for official launch in January 2017, with the mandate to support African countries in their efforts to effectively respond to public health emergencies.
AU Union Commissioner of Social Affairs, Dr. Mustapha Kaloko has described the AfricaCDC as “a very important institution” in the AU’s efforts to safeguard Africa’s health.
Speaking at the three-day meeting in Zanzibar, Kaloko urged participants to take the interests of member states of the AU in their planning.
The meeting is reviewing critical components of the AU’s policies and guidelines so that they can best serve the continent in case of a public health emergency.
Epidemics, such as the Ebola virus disease that affected some West African countries in 2013-2015, outbreaks of cholera, yellow fever and dengue in 2016 alone were emergency situations needing immediate response.
In the lead-up to its launch, the AfricaCDC has started some operations at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, including an emergency operating centre that serves as an early warning system for the continent.