ARC, Africa CDC Strengthen Disease Outbreak Preparedness

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Oluchi Chibuzor

The African Risk Capacity (ARC) and the Africa Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC) have signed a partnership agreement to establish a collaborative framework to help African Union member states strengthen preparedness and emergency response against infectious diseases, of epidemic nature. 

ARC and Africa CDC have been working together, in collaboration with other stakeholders, on establishing the “Africa Epidemic Preparedness Index” which is an innovative project for strengthening outbreak preparedness assessment within the framework of the International Health Regulation (IHR 2005) compliance.

“This agreement is in line with our ongoing strategic and technical collaboration to provide AU Member States with an array of risk management tools, including early warning, contingency planning, and alternative financing options against infectious diseases,” the Director-General of ARC, Mohamed Beavogui said.

“The next steps will be to explore how quickly we can assist Governments to begin strengthening capacities for risk reduction and mitigation before the next outbreak. Particularly, to encourage prioritisation of investments in emergency preparedness and response plans for effective recovery from public health events,” he added.

The Outbreaks and Epidemics (O&E) insurance programme of the African Risk Capacity was born in the wake of the devastating 2014 West African Ebola crisis. 

The lessons from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, revealed that, in addition to weaknesses in health systems, slow unpredictable funding was a major contributing factor to the inability of the Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to rapidly respond to the initial outbreaks. Therefore, the ARC Conference of the Parties, States and African Ministers of Finance in 2015, requested for a product to address Africa’s financing needs to contain outbreaks of viruses and diseases common to the African continent, and in the event of spread or secondary transmission.