Tanzania: AU prepares launch of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Zanzibar, Tanzania (PANA) - 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.

According to the AU Commission (AUC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, formation of the AfricaCDC supports the achievement of Africa’s Agenda 2063 aspiration 1, goal 3, on healthy and well-nourished citizens.

"The Centre satisfies at least two indicative strategies of the agenda, as its work will strengthen health systems as well as develop/implement programmes to combat communicable and non-communicable diseases," the Commission said.

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.

AU staff attending the meeting are from the Directorates of Social Affairs, Information and Communication, Administration and Human Resources Management, Strategic Planning, Political Affairs, Finance, Internal Audit and Medical Services.

“Our aim in this three day meeting is to put in place the necessary policies and regulations to enable the AfricaCDC to have a successful start,” said AUC Director of Social Affairs, Dr. Olawale Maiyegun. , ”Our expectation is that the outcome of the meeting will be presented to the two governing structures of the AfricaCDC  --  the advisory and technical council and the governing board that will be meeting in March 2017.”

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.

With millions of people in Africa predicted to die from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO), African Region has supported countries to carry out surveys to identify the main causes of this rising trend.

According to a report released early this week by the Organization, that consolidates available data, these impending threats can be predicted because most adults in Africa have at least one risk factor that increases their chances of developing a life-threatening NCD, including heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and chronic obstructive lung disease.

The burden of illness, which has been gradually increasing over the past decade, will likely surpass the toll of sickness and death from infectious diseases by 2030. Worldwide, deaths from NCDs will reach an estimated 44 million within the next four years, an increase of 15% from WHO’s 2010 estimate.

“In recent years, much of the world’s attention and resources have – deservedly – been directed toward the immediate threat posed by emerging viruses, including Zika and Ebola,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa. “What this reports serves to highlight, however, is that amidst these emergencies we cannot lose sight of the enormous health dangers posed by noncommunicable diseases, especially since many of these can be prevented through changes in behaviour and lifestyle.’’
-0- PANA AR 22Dec2016

22 december 2016 13:23:17

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