Africa CDC: Closer continental cooperation on Covid-19 a must

13Oct 2021
Henry Mwangonde
The Guardian
Africa CDC: Closer continental cooperation on Covid-19 a must

THE Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has advised Tanzania to embrace strategies aimed at boosting the continent’s ability to deal with challenges brought about by Covid-19.

Africa CDC Director Dr John Nkengasong.

Africa CDC Director Dr John Nkengasong floated the advice here virtually during the opening of the 8th Tanzania Health Summit.

He also called for the strengthening of continental bodies at the frontline of the war against the pandemic.“The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for us all to build resilient systems and adapt them so that they can cope with the 21st century trends,” he said.

The Africa CDC is a public health agency of the African Union meant to support the public health initiatives of member states and strengthen the capacity of their health institutions to deal with disease threats.

Over 600 heath stakeholders, among them policymakers, healthcare investors, scientists, hospital owners as well as local and international NGOs are here for the summit.

The focus of the deliberations is on the future of Tanzania’s healthcare, inspired by the theme: ‘Leaving No One Behind – 2021-2026: Analysing the Promise and Tracking the Progress’.

The opening ceremony saw Dr Nkengasong deliver a speech on the position of Africa in the global Covid-19 response architecture.

The highly rated virologist unsde4scored the need for African countries to invest in their public health systems and to build respectful partnerships with local partners, the private sector and international actors in a way that leads to an action-oriented partnership.

“We therefore invite and encourage Tanzania to embrace this mission,” he said, further stressing the need for countries to develop and strengthen national public health institutes, expand local vaccine manufacturing capacity, diagnostics and therapeutics, and reinforce the development of their public health workforces.

Tanzania’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Aifelo Sichwale, meanwhile called upon the summit to consider deliberating on topical issues that are in line with the country’s strategic health plans – including universal health coverage.

With particular regard to Covid-19, he underscored the importance of healthcare experts focusing on ways to conquer the pandemic’s chain by boosting vaccine uptakes through sensitization.

He described that as the only way the country would win the war against the spread of the deadly virus, noting: “There is impeccable evidence that vaccines have played a key role in saving lives, so we need to be at the forefront in sensitising and educating our people on the importance of getting vaccinated.”

The summit’s President, Dr Omary Chillo, said that in the eight years it has been in existence it has offered remarkably useful advice on ways to make the country’s health sector tick more.

The sector has gradually grown into a reliable platform where health and other experts come together to discuss various topical issues of national importance.