As part of its efforts to advance Universal Health Coverage in Africa, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has strengthened its ties with the African Union Commission (AUC) through its Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
The organisations are collaborating to tackle the numerous health challenges facing the continent.
In a statement released by WHO on Wednesday, it was disclosed that both organisations arrived at an agreement during a two-day meeting held in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo earlier this month.
The organisations agreed to build better synergies through a joint task force and action plan.
WHO and Africa CDC are at the forefront of strengthening Africa’s disease intelligence, outbreak response and prevention capacity.
The WHO regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti said, “Public health faces enormous challenges across Africa and by leveraging our strengths WHO and Africa CDC can support Member States in saving lives.”
According to the statement, the draft action plan identifies key areas for cooperation, with particular emphasis on emergency preparedness and response, and health security in the overall context of health systems strengthening.
The statement also revealed that a joint task force with five technical working groups will guide the efforts in the areas of partnerships and resource mobilization.
The groups will also monitor the progress in implementing international health regulations; addressing the African Union Agenda 2063; public health emergency preparedness and response; strengthening surveillance and laboratory capacities; and antimicrobial resistance.
The African Union commissioner for social affairs, Amira Elfadil, said the strengthening of health systems and movement towards health coverage for all remain top priorities for African nations.
“The African Union Commission is promoting health strategies and policies to reach these goals. But this requires solid partnerships and collaboration,” she said.
In his remarks, the Director of Africa CDC, John Nkengasong, said Africa is at a tipping point as it moves aggressively towards its integration agenda including free movement of people, open skies, and continental free trade agreements.
“As such, we need to re-imagine our public health approaches to ensure efficiencies and harness all our assets.
“By working as one – rather than duplicating our efforts – we can more effectively respond to Member States’ needs,” he said.
He noted that the ultimate objective of Africa CDC is to build the capacity of Member States.
The organisations stressed the importance of having core values to aspire to and good communications for working closely together.
They also agreed on regular meetings and teleconferences at multiple levels within the organisations.