From humanitarian crises triggered by conflict to climate-change induced disasters, Africa deals with over 100 disease outbreaks every year. To tackle these challenges, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) are pleased to announce the launch of a Joint Emergency Preparedness and Response Action Plan (JEAP). This pioneering five-year strategic collaboration will boost emergency preparedness and response efforts throughout Africa and thus ensure disease outbreaks during humanitarian crises and otherwise are managed efficiently.
The JEAP underlines the shared vision of Africa’s two leading public health institutions – to strengthen emergency preparedness and response and health systems on the continent. The plan builds upon existing frameworks and initiatives while capitalising on the Africa CDC and WHO’s unique capabilities and resources. Aligned with the Africa CDC’s New Public Health Order, WHO AFRO’s Regional Strategy for Health Security and Emergencies (2022-2030), and WHO EMRO’s four-year strategy for the Eastern Mediterranean region to address health emergencies – the JEAP strengthens emergency preparedness and response across six critical areas.
“The collaboration between the Africa CDC and WHO exemplifies the power of partnership in global health. JEAP will bolster our collective efforts to fight public health emergencies, saving lives and protecting our communities. We are proud to stand with the Africa CDC and work towards a healthier and safer future for all Africans,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
Priority areas of action are strengthening surveillance intelligence and genomic sequencing for quicker detection; stockpiling emergency supplies at newly established sub-regional hubs to improve emergency response operations (70% of response activities during emergencies relate to such supply chain measures); and deploying first responders within 24-48 hours of a disease outbreak. Most critically, this ground-breaking collaboration outlines impactful initiatives to be implemented in unison with countries to enhance the continent’s capacity to detect, monitor, and respond swiftly to health emergencies. In a first-of-its kind collaboration, the JEAP serves as a guiding beacon for targeted emergency response interventions and embodies the importance of cross-cutting collaboration, knowledge sharing, and resource mobilisation.
“Africa CDC is proud to partner for this important continental strategic plan. Joining forces with WHO will significantly improve our ability to safeguard the health of African populations during times of crisis. Together, we will build resilient health systems and ensure a coordinated and effective response to emergencies across the continent,” said Dr Jean Kaseya, Director General of the Africa CDC.
In an inspiring take, Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean reiterated, “This visionary collaboration will breathe new life into the efficiency of current coordination mechanisms, strengthen institutions, and ultimately help us deliver quality healthcare services to our communities.”
These efforts are galvanising the commitments from governments, health agencies, and stakeholders to strengthen health emergency preparedness, detection, and response efforts. Through collective action and unwavering commitment, we will build resilient systems, enhance capacities, and safeguard the well-being of our communities. This partnership is a testament to our unwavering dedication to a healthier, safer Africa.