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Africa CDC and RKI start long-term collaboration

The Centre of International Health Protection (ZIG) at RKI and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) held a two-day online workshop with more than 40 participants in November. The aim was to define areas for collaboration within the frame of an institutional partnership between Africa CDC and RKI which will manifest itself in a Memorandum of Understanding in the new year. Africa CDC is comparatively young – four years old – and a continent-wide public health agency linked to and situated at the African Union (AU) Secretariat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Africa CDC will be a key partner for public health on the continent in the future.

During the opening session, H.E. Amira Elfadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs at AU, and Lothar Wieler, President of RKI, gave opening remarks. Both agreed that this workshop represents the beginning of a long-term relationship. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, Deputy Director of Africa CDC, highlighted that there have been important learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as that both institutions need to work together and that in addition to short term project collaboration, that there is desire for long-term collaboration, and that Africa CDC from the technical side as well as the AU from the political level are fully committed to this partnership.

In the further course of the workshop, both Africa CDC and the Centre of International Health Protection (ZIG) at RKI presented their vision, strategic goals, recent activities in response to COVID-19 as well as research projects. There was mutual interest in collaboration and joint activities. Initial areas of collaboration were identified, resulting in the proposition of approximately 10 working groups which will work on concrete collaborations ranging from operational research methods, to supporting the development of national public health institutes on the African continent, as well as support in outbreak response and preparedness.

The German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) commissioned RKI to design the cooperation with Africa CDC after Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn had pledged a deep cooperation for the further development of early warning systems in Addis Ababa on the occasion of an Ebola donor conference of the African Union end of 2019.

Date: 01.12.2020