EU and AU sign partnership to scale up preparedness for health emergencies

News story

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is today launching a new four-year partnership initiative in order to enhance mutual engagement and contribute to durably strengthening Africa CDC capacities in preparedness and response to health threats.

Entitled ‘EU for health security in Africa: ECDC for Africa CDC’, this four-year partnership project aims to contribute to strengthening Africa CDC capacities in preparedness and response to health threats, contribute to facilitating harmonised surveillance and disease intelligence of prioritised outbreak-prone communicable diseases at continental level, and support the implementation of Africa CDC’s public health workforce development strategy.

”ECDC and Africa CDC have expressed strong interest to enhance collaboration through a partnership in areas of mutual interest and importance. This partnership is a concrete and important materialization of EU’s commitment to expand its collaboration in health and to address sustainable health security preparedness for outbreaks. The need for such collaboration has become even more evident now during the COVID-19 pandemic.” said ECDC Director Andrea Ammon.

Through the project, Africa CDC and ECDC will exchange experiences and lessons learnt from work with Member States on continental harmonised surveillance of infectious diseases, data sharing, and early detection of threats, as well as on preparedness, risk assessment, rapid response, and emergency operations and how to adapt these to their needs. All these areas include capacity-building components, which will be integrated in the existing Africa CDC initiatives and strategies, and will thus support the African health security architecture.

A Contribution Agreement with ECDC of EUR 9 million and a complementary grant to Africa CDC of EUR 1 million to cover its staffing costs under this project will come into effect on 1 January 2021. The project is funded under the European Development Fund by DG DEVCO.

The launch will be marked by a virtual kick-off event held today involving ECDC Director Andrea Ammon, DEVCO Director General for International Cooperation and Development Koen Doens, EU Head of Delegation to the AU Birgitte Markussen, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Amira Mohammed El Fadil, Director of the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention John N. Nkengasong,  European Commission Vice-President for Promoting a European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas, and Senior Fellow for Health at Friends of Europe Tamsin Rose.