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Africa CDC and WHO seek $1 billion to address health emergencies


Ntsoaki Motaung

Leading public health institutions, the Africa CDC and the World Health Organisation (WHO), are seeking $1 billion for their partnership to respond to public health emergencies triggered by climate change and conflict-related disasters, aiming to build health security on the African continent.

The organisations met on May 27, 2023, in Geneva, Switzerland, marking a year since the launch of the Joint Emergency Preparedness and Response Action Plan (JEAP) at the 76th World Health Assembly.

“The JEAP is looking forward to mobilizing close to $1 billion to address critical gaps and strengthen the systems on the continent to better prepare, detect, and respond to health emergencies by 2027,” said Dr. Jean Kaseya, Director General of the Africa CDC.

“We think we can make it happen if we put our hands together,” Dr. Kayesa told the partners at the meeting.

For the first time, the JEAP partnership developed 17 multi-country and regional proposals for submission to the second round of the Pandemic Fund, compared to fewer than three in the first round.

“We are aware that the pandemic envelope is limited in meeting all needs, and that is why we are inviting you to join the JEAP movement,” Dr. Kaseya added.

JEAP is a five-year strategic collaboration aimed at boosting emergency preparedness and response efforts throughout Africa, ensuring effective responses to disease outbreaks during humanitarian crises.

On average, 100 disease outbreaks are reported annually in Africa.

“The collaboration between the Africa CDC and WHO exemplifies the power of partnership in global health,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

“JEAP will bolster our efforts to fight public health emergencies, saving lives and protecting our communities. We are proud to stand with Africa CDC and work towards a healthier and safer future for all Africans,” Dr. Moeti added.

The plan builds upon existing frameworks and initiatives, including the Africa CDC’s New Public Health Order and WHO AFRO’s Regional Strategy for Health Security and Emergencies (2022-2030).

JEAP prioritises strengthening surveillance intelligence and genomic sequencing for quicker detection, stockpiling emergency supplies at newly established sub-regional hubs to improve emergency response operations, and deploying first responders within 24-48 hours of a disease outbreak.

They also plan to overcome supply chain barriers by reducing delays in delivering lifesaving supplies from 20 days to 24-48 hours, mitigating morbidity and mortality.

The JEAP partnership welcomed UNICEF as the first partner to join this initiative, which holds great promise for transforming health security on the continent.

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