Africa CDC, CEPI Enhance Partnership To Boost African Disease Outbreak Readiness

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COVID-19 waste

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) have signed an MoU to expand their collaboration in strengthening epidemic and pandemic prevention and response in Africa.

With a common goal, these organisations – during the 77th World Health Assembly – will work together to advance regional vaccine research, development, and sustainable manufacturing in Africa, facilitating a quicker and more fair response to emerging infectious diseases.

The global health community focuses on Geneva as leaders convene for WHA 77. This assembly is a key decision-making platform for the World Health Organisation, gathering delegates from its 194 member states annually.

During a recent press briefing, WHO’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus underscored the importance of this year’s meeting, labeling it as “one of the most significant in our 76-year history,” with member states expected to finalise discussions to improve global pandemic preparedness and response.

Under the theme “All for Health, Health for All,” WHA 77 will address various topics, including universal health coverage, influenza preparedness, public health risks from live animal markets and the impact of climate change and pollution on health.

Africa CDC and CEPI are dedicated to this partnership, aiming to strengthen cooperation and deliver concrete outcomes to fulfill Africa’s long-term health security aspirations.

During the sideline event, Africa CDC’s director-general, Dr. Jean Kaseya emphasised the need to build resilient health systems to manage infectious diseases effectively, highlighting the significance of this action-oriented partnership in achieving this goal.

CEPI’s chief executive officer, Mr. Richard Hatchett stressed the importance of African leadership and capabilities in responding to frequent infectious disease outbreaks, emphasising the necessity of preparatory measures, including expanding vaccine manufacturing capacity and clinical trial readiness.

In line with the African Union’s ambition to produce 60 per cent of the continent’s vaccines in Africa by 2040, under the Africa CDC’s Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM), the extended collaboration will focus on enhancing research and development, workforce building and supply chain optimisation to support resilient health systems.

This initiative aims to increase vaccine sovereignty, reduce external dependencies, and prevent a recurrence of the vaccine inequities observed during the COVID-19 response in Africa.

To enhance vaccine accessibility and efficiency, investments in research, development, manufacturing innovations and a resilient regional supply chain are essential.

Africa CDC and CEPI will work together to fund innovations that accelerate initial implementation with African manufacturers, supporting sustainable manufacturing for routine vaccinations and rapid production of response vaccines during outbreaks.

This partnership also seeks to strengthen Africa’s research ecosystem, clinical trial infrastructure, and capacity building through CEPI’s Research Preparedness Programme, which aims to conduct high-quality Phase 3 efficacy trials under the guidance of regional experts.

Collaboration on vaccine safety protocols, biosecurity, pathogen surveillance, capacity-building and other areas will further bolster Africa’s readiness for emergency vaccine responses.

Racheal Abujah
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