The Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (AfricaCDC) says only one country is ready to respond to a public health emergency.
Dr. Jean Kaseya, the Director-General of the Africa CDC, said this at the third International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA), which took place in Lusaka, Zambia, from November 27 to November 30,
On Thursday, Kaseya gave a speech at a side event to introduce a five-year strategy plan aimed at bolstering public health emergency operations centers in Eastern Mediterranean and African nations.
He said the only African country ready to respond to a public health emergency was South Africa.
He urged member states to accelerate measures and mechanisms to enhance responses to public health emergencies.
Kaseya explained that the absence of preparedness from other countries exposes all countries in the Africa region to the risks of outbreaks, if any occur.
“If we want to consider the score for vulnerability, how countries are rated, ready, and well prepared to respond to outbreaks, only one country in Africa is ready.
“It means all other countries are at risk. If we know that, then we can say we are all exposed.
“The only way to prevent and respond to outbreaks is through strong Public Health Emergency Operation Centres (PHEOCs),’’ he said.
He noted that there were still gaps to be filled, as disparity still exists.
He, however, said some progress had been recorded in strengthening emergency preparedness and response but called for partnerships to foster the implementation of the five-year strategic plan.
“The disparity that we see is calling us to have a strong partnership.
He promised to make member nations more aware of the need to support the plan’s implementation.