Africa CDC Successfully Launched

The agency was created to respond to fast-spreading disease threats, such as Ebola, and to establish early warning and response surveillance systems, respond to emergencies, build capacity, and provide technical expertise to address health emergencies in a timely and effective manner.

Africa CDC, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, has been launched Jan. 31, 2017, by heads of state and governments with a ribbon cutting at the African Union Commission Building B in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), posted a statement welcoming the news. Africa CDC Acting Director Dr Andrea Ammon said, "ECDC welcomes the Africa CDC to the international public health community. We look forward to exchanging knowledge and experience with each other."

The agency was created to respond to fast-spreading disease threats, such as Ebola, and to establish early warning and response surveillance systems, respond to emergencies, build capacity, and provide technical expertise to address health emergencies in a timely and effective manner. "As an African-owned institution, the Africa CDC is uniquely positioned to help protect the health of the continent. It will also join the international networks of public health institutions to share information and improve surveillance of public health threats," the African Union said in a statement as the agency was in deveopment.

The need for it was was recognized by the African Union in 2013 and formalized in 2015. African Union ministers of health adopted the Statute of the Africa CDC in July 2015 and urged that its establishment be fast-tracked.

During 2016 alone, the African continent experienced disease outbreaks that included yellow fever, cholera, dengue, and other infections, underscoring the importance of the new public health agency.

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