Africa to form disease agency

Apr 13, 2015, 4:52 PM EDT
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) listens as African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma (L) delivers remarks during the opening of the African Union Commission High Level Dialogue April 13, 2015 at the State Department in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission, signed a memo of cooperation that signals the partnership between the African Union Commission and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reuters reports:

"The West African Ebola epidemic reaffirmed the need for a public health institute to support African ministries of health and other health agencies in their efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to any disease outbreak," CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a statement.
 
The African CDC is slated to launch later this year with the opening of a surveillance and response unit, which will provide technical expertise and help coordinate response to health emergencies, the statement said.
 
As part of the agreement, the U.S. CDC will send two public health experts to serve as long-term technical advisers to the African CDC. The United States will also support fellowships for 10 African epidemiologists to help staff five regional African CDC coordinating centers which are being established to help monitor disease activity on the continent.
 
 
The formation of an African CDC has been under development for a few years, and the physical launch of the health institute will happen later this year. An African Surveillance and Response Unit will be established with an emergency operations center. Five regional centers will also be identified with a coordinating center in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Like the U.S. CDC, there will be epidemiologists at the various locations who will perform disease surveillance, investigation and tracking of infection trends. The new unit will also provide response expertise during large outbreaks.
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