Milestones :: Perspectives
First Progress Report (En) :: 11 pages
March 29, 2018
OVERVIEW OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGES IN AFRICA
2. Africa is facing a triple burden of disease, namely, communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; non-communicable diseases; injuries and trauma. Public health events like the West Africa Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, which claimed over 11,000 African lives (2014−2016), cholera outbreaks, which have affected southern, central, and eastern Africa in recent years, and other natural disasters, such as the devastating mudslide in Sierra Leone, in which over 1000 people died (2017), are pressing concerns. In the first three months of 2018, 43 ongoing outbreaks occurring on the African continent have been reported by the World Health Organization. In 2016, over 1 million new HIV infections were diagnosed in Africa. Each of these diseases or events impact significant numbers of Africans, have the potential to reverse fragile economic gains (the Ebola outbreak resulted in USD 2.2 billion in gross domestic product losses for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone), and may ultimately become global security threats.
3. Globally, the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases with pandemic potential is gaining widespread attention. Over the past three and half decades, at least 30 new infectious agents affecting humans have emerged, most of which are zoonotic. The origins of these agents have been shown to correlate significantly with socioeconomic, environmental, and
ecological factors, particularly trends in urbanization and population growth (Africa’s population is expected to increase from 1.2 billion to 2.4 billion people by the year 2050). Additionally, the widespread use of medications has created an enormous threat due to emerging antimicrobial resistance.
4. Agenda 2063 emphasizes the need to view health as a development issue ifthe continent is to prosper and achieve its objective (Aspiration 1, Goal 3) that citizens are healthy, well-nourished and have long lives. The Africa HealthStrategy (AHS 2016−2030), an overarching framework that guides MemberState implementation of health policies. The strategy highlights Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention role in disease prevention, surveillance,
emergency preparedness and response…
…24. Africa CDC is pursuing a mechanism for sustainable financing through businesses, the private sector, and African philanthropy. The Africa CDC private sector and philanthropy engagement strategy has been developed and presented to the Africa CDC Governing Board. This strategy has been aligned and coordinated with plans for Africa CDC Foundation. A priority
focus has been on identifying African companies dealing in telecommunications and other sectors. Finally, Africa CDC is engaging African philanthropists who have given historical support to the African health agenda.
25. Africa CDC has recorded notable achievements to mark its first year of existence. It is successfully fulfilling the mandate it received from the Assembly, even while it continually expands and develops new avenues for strengthening public health capacity on the African continent.
26. Member States have demonstrated their continued support and enthusiasm for Africa CDC by robust participation to produce various framework documents that will guide their public health activities at the national level. These framework documents include a strategy to introduce event-based surveillance at the continental, regional, and national levels; a framework to establish a national public health institute in every Member State; a framework
to address the threat of antimicrobial resistance.
27. In its inaugural year, Africa CDC responded to ten public health events in Member States with a limited technical staff (only ten epidemiologists are currently seconded to Africa CDC). These same epidemiologists also provide day-to-day administrative and management support to operations at the Africa CDC secretariat.
28. While three of the Africa CDC RCC [Regionla Coordinating Centers] have had successful political launches, they require substantial human resource support to ensure that the technical
aspects of Africa CDC’s strategic plan is successfully implemented at the regional level. Without each RCC, Africa CDC has limited ability to encourage public health coordination among Member States. It is crucial to ensure that the West Africa and North Africa are launched in 2018. I look forward to nominating a North African technical public health institution motivated and equipped to provide support to the entire region, cognizant of the diverse array of needs represented in North Africa.
29. I encourage Member States to participate actively in the public health platform established by the Regional Collaborating Centres. Laboratory networks, coordination during public health events, and information exchange are critical elements of the RCC mandate.