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Africa CDC, WHO, Robert Koch Institute Launch Disease Surveillance Partnership

NEW YORK – The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the Robert Koch Institute on Tuesday launched a program called the Health Security Partnership to Strengthen Disease Surveillance and Epidemic Intelligence in Africa.

The partnership is funded by the government of Canada's Weapons Threat Reduction Program and aligned with the health security objectives of the G7-led Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. It aims to strengthen Africa's health security capabilities in the areas of biosecurity, integrated disease surveillance, event-based surveillance, genomic surveillance, and epidemic intelligence.

The Health Security Partnership will work to improve integrated disease surveillance capabilities across the continent in order to better detect, confirm, and notify health security threats, the partners said.

"The multi-country project consultation and launch meeting is a significant milestone towards strengthening surveillance and epidemic intelligence capabilities in Africa," said Yenew Kebede, head of laboratory systems and networks at the Africa CDC, adding, "It provides a platform for sharing experiences and best practices, which will be essential for the success of the project."

WHO's Regional Offices for Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean have been working closely with the Africa CDC to strengthen public health surveillance, promote regional cooperation, and address health challenges in Africa. The Health Security Partnership will contribute to the overall collaborative framework by delivering concrete results in the areas of emergency preparedness and response and surveillance and laboratory capabilities, and help protect the health of people in Africa through a better coordinated and more resilient health system.

"Our collective ability to prevent, prepare for, and respond to healthy security emergencies remains critical to keeping our communities safe," said Sara Hersey, director of collaborative intelligence at the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence. "Through this partnership, WHO remains dedicated to working with member states to systematically strengthen our capabilities and collaboration across stakeholders, sectors, and borders for more effective and collaborative disease surveillance in Africa."

The partnership seeks to encourage strong country leadership, and the first phase will be implemented in six African Union member states including Gambia, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Tunisia, and South Africa. It will later be expanded to additional countries.