The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have signed a new partnership to strengthen public response to health threats on the African continent in light of the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.
ECDC is an independent agency of the European Union (EU) established in 2004 to strengthen Europe’s response and defences against infectious diseases.
The African CDC on the other hand is a specialised institution mandated to support all members of the African Union (AU) to similarly respond to threats of disease outbreaks across the continent.
The four-year project, ‘EU for health security in Africa’, will work towards scaling up disease surveillance and intelligence as well as supporting the implementation of healthcare workers of Africa CDC.
The European development Fund, which is funding the project, has contributed €9 million, with an additional €1 million for staffing costs.
The agreement is due to come to effect on January 1, 2021.
Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the EU had allocated €2.6 billion for health. Most of this funding went into strengthening health systems, with €1.1 billion going to 13 different African countries, Nigeria inclusive.
Jutta Urpilainen, the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, stressed how much the pandemic had made it more important than ever that countries were prepared for sudden outbreaks of diseases and illnesses.
“The COVID-19 pandemic shows how crucial it is to invest in health systems to ensure they are prepared to deal with such crisis,” Urpilainen said.
“The EU supports the continental leadership and coordination of the African Union in responding to the ongoing pandemic, and together we are helping partner countries to strengthen their capacities to prevent, detect and respond to health threats.”
Amira Elfadil Mohammed, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the AU Commission, also said that the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic “isn’t 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,” she added.
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