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Empowering African Public Health: Africa CDC Launches Restructured Advisory and Technical Council to Strengthen Continent-wide Disease Control

Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) took a significant stride towards enhancing disease prevention and control measures in Africa by introducing its revamped Advisory and Technical Council (ATC) during the 6th Ordinary Session held in Nairobi, Kenya on July 10th 2023.

This strategic restructuring is a direct response to the African Union’s decision at its 35th Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in February 2022. The decision empowers Africa CDC as an independent body with the crucial mission of disease prevention and control across the continent.

This transformation represents a shift towards stronger leadership and ownership by Member States, their Heads of State, and governments. It strengthens Africa CDC’s leadership and governance structure as part of broader efforts to reinforce continental mechanisms through strategic institution-building.

Dr. Jean Kaseya, Director General of Africa CDC, warmly welcomed all members of the newly formed ATC at the opening of the session. He expressed gratitude to the outgoing ATC for their exceptional technical guidance, particularly during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their expertise and advice have played a vital role in our response efforts. Dr. Kaseya emphasized the significance of the ATC’s advice and guidance, especially in implementing and assessing the strategic plan, in realizing the aspirations of the African Union Agenda 2063.

The restructured ATC comprises 20 diverse members, including representatives from Member States, National Public Health Institutes, the Regional Integrated Surveillance and Laboratory Network (RISLNET), African Health Networks, World Health Organisation (WHO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). This composition adheres to the updated Africa CDC statute endorsed at the 45th Ordinary Session of the African Union Executive Council in Lusaka, Zambia, in July 2022.

During the session, Dr. Anne Marie Ambourhouet-Bigmann, the outgoing Chair of the Africa ATC, presented the ATC report. She highlighted the accomplishments of the ATC and shared important dates and milestones. The ATC is made up of 23 members from various state and non-state stakeholders. Their role is to provide technical and consultative support to Africa CDC on matters such as emerging diseases, surveillance, resource mobilization, science, research, and strategy.

Throughout its tenure, the ATC held five ordinary meetings and provided strategic recommendations to the Governing Board and Secretariat of Africa CDC. The report detailed the outcomes of these meetings, including achievements, challenges, and recommendations for the incoming council. The discussions covered the operationalization of Africa CDC, the implementation of a five-year strategic plan, resource mobilization, partnerships, data utilization, and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report also highlighted the ATC’s impact in addressing various emerging diseases, such as Marburg, Ebola, Yellow Fever, Cholera, Dengue, and COVID-19. The committee offered advice and technical expertise on vaccine acquisition, local manufacturing initiatives, and `genomic sequencing capacities.

The newly elected ATC members, who will serve a non-renewable term of three years, will provide crucial advice to Africa CDC on a wide range of issues, including emerging concerns, strategic planning, resource mobilization, disease surveillance and detection, and scientific endeavors.

The 6th Ordinary Session successfully facilitated a smooth transition from the outgoing to the new ATC, adopted the draft rules and procedures of the ATC, and elected Dr. Eduardo Samo Gudo as the Chair and Dr. Morenike Oguan Alex-Okoh as the Vice Chair of the Advisory and Technical Council of Africa CDC. As the new ATC commences its term, it is well-positioned to provide essential technical advice and champion the strategic plans and activities of Africa CDC, reflecting its strengthened status and expanded operational mandate. In his address to the meeting, the newly elected Chairperson of the ATC emphasized that the council consists of scientists, not politicians, whose main focus is to provide evidence-based guidance to the Director General. This contribution should be recognized as a significant effort toward improving public health in the continent.

Source: Africa Cdc