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European Union, AU sign new partnership to tackle epidemics

European Union’s Margaritis Schinas

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has launched a new partnership to strengthen the capacity of Africa to prepare for and respond to public health threats. 

The four-year project dubbed ‘EU for health security in Africa will be implemented through harmonising surveillance and disease intelligence, and supporting  the implementation of the public health workforce strategy of Africa CDC. The agreement will come into force on January 1st, 2021.

European Union’s Margaritis Schinas said in a statement on December 13th that the Coronavirus pandemic has shown more clearly than ever that health security must remain a global priority.

“The new partnership between the European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control and the Africa CDC is a crucial step to achieve this common goal. We are acting now, together, to end this crisis and be prepared for future outbreaks. Our AU-EU Commission-to-Commission meeting in February was instrumental in reinforcing the prospects of our cooperation that is now bearing fruit.”

Extending funding worth 9million euros for the activities and a million euros to cover staffing costs at the Africa CDC, he said is aimed at building capacity not only for handling COVID-19 but also to tackle future health threats on the continent.

“As a continent, we recognize the socio economic impact that disease outbreaks have had on our people. We know that fighting COVID-19 in Africa is not only about saving lives today, but about the future of the continent, it is about strengthening our health systems to better support preparedness and response to health emergencies in the future. This funding by the EU comes at a very good time and will go a long way in supporting capacity building of our public health institutions and experts”, said Amira Elfadil Mohammed, Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union Commission.

As part of the agreement, Africa CDC and ECDC will be able to exchange experiences and lessons learnt from working with African and European Member States on the continental harmonised surveillance of infectious diseases, data sharing, and early detection of threats, as well as on preparedness, risk assessment, rapid response, and emergency operations, and on how to adapt these to their needs.

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