Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) was established in January 2016 at the 26th Ordinary Assembly of Heads of State and Government as a specialized technical institution of the African Union. It was officially launched in January 2017. Following its launch, Africa CDC developed its inaugural five-year Strategic Plan (2017-2021). During the first five-year Strategic Plan period, the organisation achieved notable milestones including the development of National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs) and Event-based Surveillance (EBS) frameworks; operationalisation of the Regional Integrated Surveillance and Laboratory Network (RISLNET) programme; launching of the Africa Collaborative to Advance Diagnostics (AFCAD); and formal establishment of three Regional Coordinating Centres in Central, Southern and Eastern Africa.
Over the past five years, Africa CDC has fostered trust and confidence across the continent. Africa CDC has played a pivotal role in safeguarding Africa’s public health through providing strategic directions; building capacity and capability of public health institutions; and supporting Member States in training and deploying health-care workers on preparedness and response to disease threats and outbreaks. The organization coordinated the continental response to COVID-19 and other outbreaks, such as Ebola Virus Disease; advocated for Africa on global health platforms; mobilized the political leadership; and secured significant funds and resources.
Africa CDC has been championing the vision of Africa’s New Public Health Order which was subsequently officially launched by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission in 2021. The New Public Health Order represents Africa’s priorities for its health security. It constitutes a paradigm shift in a new vision that seeks to transcend and inform the work of Africa CDC, the African Union, AU Member States and relevant stakeholders. Through its 5 pillars; namely, a) Strengthened Public Health Institutions, b) Strengthened Public Health Workforce, c) Expanded Local manufacturing, d) Increased Domestic resources, and e) Action-oriented and Respectful partnerships, the New Public Health Order seeks to achieve sustainable and inclusive health security for Africa, through local leadership.
The decision by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, at the 35th Ordinary Session, on 6th of February 2022 elevated Africa CDC’s status to an autonomous public health institution of the African Union. This historic decision provides Africa CDC the required agility and capacity to respond to public health emergencies as well as the leadership of the health commitments within the AU’s Agenda 2063. This will also enable Africa CDC to effectively deliver
on key initiatives, such as the Partnership for African Vaccines Manufacturing (PAVM), the Trusted Travel Initiative (TTI), the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT). Furthermore, the elevated status, signifies a leap towards realisation of the “New Public Health Order”.
The second five-year Strategic Plan (2022-2026) was developed following an assessment of the organisation’s performance in implementing the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan; drawing lessons from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak; recognizing the evolving public health architecture – including demographic, cultural, and socio-economic factors; and taking into consideration the continental and global commitments.
During this strategic period, Africa CDC will provide strategic direction and support to Member States through six pillars:
• Pillar I: Surveillance and Disease Intelligence
• Pillar II: Information Systems
• Pillar III: Laboratory Systems and Networks
• Pillar IV: Emergency Preparedness and Response
• Pillar V: National Public Health Institutes and Research
• Pillar VI: Disease Control and Prevention
The inspired impact of these strategic pillars which correspond to the strategic goals is to strengthen Africa’s public health institutions’ capacities, capabilities, and partnerships to prevent, detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats based on science, evidence-based policy, and data-driven interventions and programs. The ultimate purpose of this Strategic Plan, in line with Agenda 2063, is to ensure a safer, healthier, coordinated, and prosperous Africa.
Eleven strategic objectives are derived from the six strategic goals. These strategic goals have a defined set of outcomes, outputs, activities and performance measures. Functionality and implementation of these goals rely on an implementation framework that combines policy and legal frameworks for health diplomacy; robust planning and performance monitoring systems; amplified role and capacity of Regional Coordinating Centres (RCCs); sustainable partnerships; and cross-cutting enablers.
This Strategic Plan will be cascaded to all levels of the Africa CDC structure. It will also be translated into annual operational plans. Its implementation will be consistently monitored using the monitoring and evaluation framework stipulated in this document.