Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 10 November 2023 – The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the China Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) leadership have committed to enhance their collaboration in advancing public health in Africa. The commitment was made during a visit by Dr. Shen Hongbing, the Director General of the China CDC along with H.E Ambassador Hu Changchun, the Head of China Mission to the African Union. Both parties expressed their commitment to strengthening disease diagnosis, infectious disease, workforce development, outbreak response, surveillance and early warning in Africa.
The visit presented a timely opportunity to unveil the state-of-the-art Reference Laboratory at Africa CDC Office buildings constructed through the support of the People’s Republic of China. The unveiling ceremony presented a chance to showcase the laboratory’s capabilities and its anticipated contributions to healthcare advancement in Africa.
H.E Dr. Jean Kaseya the Director General of Africa CDC while welcoming his counterpart from China CDC on his first official visit to Africa, appreciated the Peoples Republic of China for their generous support in advancing public health in Africa. “The Africa CDC and China CDC are keen to enhance their collaboration in multiple areas, and the reference laboratory aligns with Africa CDC’s strategic priorities, enhancing its capacity to respond promptly and effectively to various public health threats. It represents a key milestone in our vision to transform Africa CDC into a world-class, agile and self-sustaining organization,” emphasized Dr. Kaseya.
The Laboratory facility which has two biosafety level (BSL)-I, four BSL-II, two specialized BSL-II (BSL-II plus) and two high containment laboratories (BSL-III) aims to address significant gaps in laboratory systems in Africa. Currently, less than 5% of African laboratories possess fully developed and sustainable capacity for diagnosing the priority diseases within their countries, properly transporting specimens, and adhering to international standards and regulatory requirements. Against this backdrop, expanding clinical and public health laboratory systems and networks in Africa is one of Africa CDC’s top priorities for the period 2023-2027. This laboratory will play a crucial role in achieving this goal by ensuring the expansion of laboratory services and in conducting pathogen research and epidemiology in Africa.
The Africa CDC Reference Laboratory named after Chinese Scientist Dr. Wu Lien-teh, who is a pioneer of modern medicine in China, is fully equipped and will promote collaboration on capacity building of Member States to have strong laboratory systems and networks to improve clinical care, support surveillance and outbreak response and facilitate technology transfer to African institutions.
H.E Ambassador Hu Changchun, the Head of China Mission to the African Union noted that the inauguration of the Africa CDC new headquarters and the unveiling of Dr. Wu Lien-teh Laboratory will certainly open a new chapter in public health in Africa and inject new momentum into the deepening of China-Africa health cooperation. “President Xi Jinping put forward three major initiatives (i) supporting Africa’s industrialization, (ii) agricultural modernization, and (iii) China-Africa cooperation on talent development. These will provide new opportunities for our friendship and win-win cooperation,” said Ambassador Hu Changchun.
The facility will serve as training and quality assurance center, will provide support for evaluation and validation of diagnostic technologies and tools, facilitate research and development and play important role in outbreak confirmation. The facility will work in close collaboration with National Public Health Institutes/National Reference Laboratories of Member States as continent laboratory network.
“One hundred years ago, Dr. Wu Lien-teh launched a large-scale, systematic campaign to prevent and control plague in China, initiating the modernization of China’s public health system. China CDC will inherit Dr. Wu’s professional attitude and internationalism and will cooperate with Africa CDC to contribute to the health and safety of the people in Africa and the world,” stated Dr. Shen Hongbing the Director General of China National Disease Control and Prevention.
As a Centre of Excellence, the laboratory will house antimicrobial susceptibility testing for surveillance of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) across the continent, biochemical analysis, multiplex molecular diagnosis capacity, bio-banking, advanced pathogen genomic sequencing including metagenomic sequencing capacity for identification of unknown pathogens.
About Africa CDC
Africa CDC is an autonomous health agency of the African Union which supports Member States in their efforts to strengthen health systems and improve surveillance, emergency response, prevention and control of diseases. Learn more at: http://www.africacdc.org
About China CDC
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (or the China CDC) is a national-level technical organization under the National Health Commission that specializes in disease control and prevention and public health https://en.chinacdc.cn/
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Dorothy Njagi | Senior Communication Officer- Policy, Health Diplomacy & Communication | Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention| African Union| email: email: email@example.com | Website: www.africacdc.org| Addis Ababa| Ethiopia| Facebook | Twitter