Nairobi — Regional health officials have officially unveiled the Eastern Africa Regional Collaborating Centre (EA-RCC) in a move aimed at stepping up the fight against emerging and re-emerging disease threats in the region.
The centre to be based in Kenya has been operating within the Africa Centers for Disease Control (CDC) framework with an objective to ensure effective preparedness and response to current public health threats in the context of COVID 19 and beyond.
Speaking in Nairobi during the event, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe expressed optimism that the centre will strengthen the capacity, capabilities and partnerships of Africa’s public health institutions to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks in the continent.
“The opportunity to collaborate in disease control is something we have been looking forward to doing and I believe the center will have a positive impact not just in the region or our continent but also the world at large,” he said.
The Health CS appealed for cooperation between member states covered by each of the centers and the centers themselves saying it would enable collaboration across the entire continent.
“As we know, challenges affecting different countries on the continent, regardless of the regions they may be in, could very well manifest themselves in other countries in the different regions, hence the need to ensure collaboration is escalated beyond a region as may be necessary,” said Kagwe.
Kagwe said that there was need for collaboration to ensure quality information and data at all levels to ensure that all public health decisions are guided by evidence-based policies and guidelines.
He further stated that he hoped Africa CDC and EA-RCC will continue to offer a platform for networking public health assets in the region and also interlinking centers of excellence to strengthen knowledge management and public health practices.
The Health CS further noted that the outbreak of coronavirus in March 2020 had resulted to the rise in health and economic challenges in the continent, adding there was need for early disease detection and prevention to avoid a repeat of the same.
“COVID-19 pandemic is indeed a stark illustration of how the undetected transmission of pathogens across borders can quickly transform a local disease outbreak into a regional health emergency or even a global crisis. The current situation underscores the importance of strengthening regional disease surveillance systems and emergency-response capabilities across the continent,” he said.
Kagwe further said that there was a growing pressure on governments and regional bodies to safeguard the health of Africa and the world adding that policies must be put in place to ensure that continental institutions can swiftly detect and effectively address disease outbreaks anywhere before they become a threat everywhere.
He added that regional laboratory that will also be established will undertake genomic sequencing to better understand diseases with multiple variants such COVID-19.
“Besides, I expect that the center will also collaborate with our other research institutions including the Kenya Medical Research Institute, The Kenya Institute of Primate Research and all other research bodies whose work will be complimentary to that of the regional collaboration center. It should also act as a reference and referral laboratory for the region. At the center of all these efforts is the ultimate goal of ensuring we approach seeking solutions to our health challenges differently, together,” he said.
African Union Commission representative Amira Elfadil who also spoke at the event lauded President Uhuru Kenyatta for the strides the country had made in the health sector.
She thanked all the stakeholders and partners in the region including IGAD, WHO and COMESA for their role in ensuring the success of the newly unveiled center and addressing health challenged in the region.
Elfadil said the RCC has supported several initiatives in the East Africa Region since its establishment including the establishment of a functioning office in Nairobi and has supported the member states in Covid-19 preparedness and response.
Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong said that there was need to redesign the health security apparatus locally, regionally and globally.
He added that COID-19 outbreak had shown the need for the region to enforce laboratory networks and commit to strengthening health systems.
EA-RCC coordinates Africa CDC partnerships and activities in the 14 Member States in the Eastern Africa Region and has been involved in strengthening surveillance and laboratory systems and public health communications in the region.
The official unveiling of EA-RCC brought together officials from Tanzania, Uganda,Djibouti, Rwanda, Madagascar, Somalia, South Sudan, Seychelles, Comoros, Mauritius, Eritrea and Ethiopia, some of whom attended the event virtually.
Source link : https://allafrica.com/stories/202110020065.html
Author : Capital FM
Publish date : 2021-10-02 06:06:25