Ethiopia: AU Summit to make huge Ebola statement with new disease centre

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The African Union Summit is due to make a huge statement of the its preparedness to handle future health emergencies with the launch of the African Centre for Disease Control (CDC) to deal with outbreaks of epidemics affecting humans and animals, officials said Saturday.

AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Sidiki Kaloko said after a full year of preparations towards the launch of the Centre for Disease Control, a response to the Ebola outbreak which hit in 2014-2015, spreading to some West African countries, the African leaders were gearing to launch the centre in Addis Ababa.

“We are launching this CDC in Addis Ababa because we believe locating the Centre here will also give it the political clout that it requires to act accordingly,” Kaloko told reporters in Nairobi.

Ahead of the 28th African Union (AU) Heads of State Summit taking place in Addis Ababa, the AU announced that its measures against an Ebola outbreak was buoyed by a renewed emphasis on responses to epidemic emergencies.

The Centre is expected to have adequate political clout with the capacity to reach out to the African heads of state on matters of the disease emergencies.

The CDC is also set up with regional operations centres, an emergency operations centre with an internationally built centre to provide back up to the AU efforts to deal with the diseases.

In recent months, the AU suffered several healthcare emergencies, including an outbreak of Yellow Fever in Angola and a cholera outbreak among other diseases.

An emergency operations Centre with the capacity to monitor the disease outbreak trends across Africa is also required urgently.

The regional collaboration centres would help the AU to manage future outbreak of epidemics while also giving the CDC some additional political clout to bolster response.

The AU Commission was critical in mobilizing resources that enabled the continent to effectively respond to the Ebola outbreak which claimed the lives of thousands and ravaged the health system in the affected regions, which lacked proper research laboratories to effectively respond.

In recent months, there have been outbreaks of Yellow Fever in Angola, cholera and recently, the avian flu in Uganda, which has further piled pressure on leaders to seek effective disease responses.

The AU official said measures have been put in place, including how the Addis Ababa-based Centre would raise funds from donors and how it would be managed.

“We spent the last year putting in place the financing mechanism and the partnership structure and all the necessary statutes required to run the organisation,” Commissioner Kaloko said.

The African leaders attending the 28th session of the AU Heads of State Assembly are expected to participate in the launch of the Centre for Disease Control on 31 January in Addis Ababa.

The AU remains upbeat that with the partnership it has established with the European Centre for Disease Control, the US Centre for Disease Control and the Cuban Centre for Disease Control, the new establishment would successfully execute its plans to keep Africa free from disease spread.
-0- PANA AO/MA 28Jan2017

28 january 2017 19:13:38

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