We African Union Heads of State and Government, and Heads of Delegations participating at the Special Side Event, “Africa’s New Public Health Order: Rejuvenating the Global Health Security Agenda” in the sidelines of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
MINDFUL that Africa, a continent of more than 1.2 billion people, continues to experience the highest incidence of public health emergencies annually.
DEEPLY CONCERNED by the detrimental impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic across Africa’s health, social and economic sectors; FURTHER CONCERNED by the potential negative consequences of existing public health emergencies including the Monkeypox outbreak.
COGNIZANT of the challenges that African Union Member States face in accessing essential medical countermeasures during the COVID-19 pandemic and other outbreaks, driven by trade and intellectual property-related restrictions.
NOTING the critical shortage of health workforce in Africa that is made worse by the numerous public health emergencies, and challenges with securing relevant health tools for their use.
RECALLING the African Union Assembly Decision Assembly/AU/Dec.835(XXXV) of February 2022 to grant autonomy to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and upgrade the current “AU COVID-19 Response Fund” into the “Africa Epidemics Fund” to mobilize resources for preparedness and response to disease threats on the continent.
FURTHER RECALLING the African Union Assembly Decision Assembly/AU/Dec.735(XXXII) of February 2019 that adopted the Treaty for the establishment of the Africa Medicine Agency (AMA).
RECOGNIZING the African Union Commission’s initiative to expand Africa’s manufacturing of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, and APPLAUDING the commitment, dedication and progress demonstrated by several African Union Member States on building local manufacturing capacity.
APPRECIATING the progress made by the Africa CDC’s Saving Lives and Livelihoods Initiative in partnership with Mastercard Foundation, creating access to COVID-19 vaccines for millions of Africans, and strengthening vaccination capacity to support Africa’s health security agenda.
WE, the Heads of State and Government hereby Call for the full implementation of Africa’s New Public Health Order, which includes:
- Strengthening African Institutions for Public Health
a) Call upon African Union Member States to provide full support to continental institutions for public health, including Africa CDC and AMA, in execution of their mandates.
b) Call upon governments, multilateral organizations, philanthropies, private sector, and civil society organizations to support institutional capacity-building initiatives that support public health at the continental and national levels.
c) Call upon the African Union Commission to expedite full operationalization of the Africa CDC and AMA.
- Strengthening Public Health Workforce
a) Call upon governments, multilateral organizations, philanthropies, private sector, and civil society organizations to support Africa CDC’s efforts and initiatives for building the capacities and capabilities of all workers who contribute to public health in Africa.
b) Call upon African Union Member States and all partners to expand and strengthen Community Health Workers programmes in Africa.
- Expanding Local Manufacturing of Health Products
a) Call upon African Union Member States to coordinate with Africa CDC and the African Union Commission, as they expand manufacturing capacity and opportunities for all health products in Africa.
b) Call upon African Union Member States to coordinate with Africa CDC, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and the African Union Commission, in coordinating increased demand for health products manufactured on the continent.
c) Call upon all vaccines purchasing mechanisms, such as the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization (GAVI), multilateral institutions, philanthropies, and other stakeholders, to purchase at least 30 per cent of their vaccines from manufacturers in Africa.
d) Call upon governments, multilateral organizations, philanthropies, private sector, and civil society organizations to remove trade and intellectual property-related barriers to support local production of health products in Africa.
- Increasing Domestic Investment in Health
- Call upon African Union Member States, Africa CDC, the African Union Commission, philanthropies, and private sector to promote innovative domestic financing mechanisms including public-private partnerships.
- Promoting Action-Oriented and Respectful Partnership
a) Call Upon multilateral organizations, philanthropies, private sector, civil society organizations and all stakeholders to develop action-oriented partnerships, with Africa CDC, the African Union Commission, and AU Member States, which are based on Africa’s priorities.
b) Call Upon African Union Member States, multilateral organizations and civil society to ensure that Africa’s voice is heard and African positions on the global health security agenda are reflected in the ongoing negotiations for developing international legally binding instrument on pandemic preparedness and response.
c) Call upon international partners, development finance institutions, philanthropies and private sector to support investment in infrastructure for manufacturing of health products in Africa, through new and innovative mechanisms.
d) Call upon Africa CDC and the African Union Commission to strengthen scientific and technical cooperation with relevant African institutions.
21 September 2022
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC),
African Union Commission
Roosevelt Street W21 K19, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia