Institute Pasteur, ARC, AfriCatalyst, WAHO ink deal to bolster pandemic preparedness in West Africa

SENEGAL – The Institut Pasteur de Dakar (IPD) has inked a pact with the African Risk Capacity (ARC), AfriCatalyst and the West African Health Organization (WAHO) to bolster outbreak preparedness and response to high consequence infectious diseases in West Africa.

The African institutions have collaborated in science, policy, governance and finance to advance global public health security through epidemic intelligence and outbreak response particularly strengthening health security in Africa to mitigate the risk of global threats spreading to and from the region.

Under the strategic deal, the parties will evaluate the capacities for epidemiological surveillance and laboratory diagnostics for viral hemorrhagic fevers in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in a move that will contribute to the global effort to end epidemics and prevent pandemics.

The partnership will model the risk of new and re-emerging outbreaks and epidemics in the West Africa region as well as initiate epidemic contingency plans and countermeasures for infectious diseases such as Ebola, Marburg, Lassa fever, Meningococcal meningitis and emerging pathogens of concern.

In addition, Institut Pasteur de Dakar will provide support to enhance the capacity of the program to evaluate surveillance and laboratory capacities in the region in line with IPD’s purpose as a WHO Collaborating Centre for arboviruses and viral hemorrhagic fevers.

The Alliance represents a unique partnership of leading African institutions with a global outlook that brings expertise in science, policy, governance and finance to advance global public health security through epidemic intelligence and outbreak response.

The partnership will leverage IPD’s core and industry expertise particularly the combination of biostatistics, bioinformatics, mathematical modelling, epidemiology, software development and virology that will be used to input parameters for simulating outbreaks and transmission dynamics in the region.

Under the deal, BMGF will provide support to advance AfriCatalyst’s efforts to help coordinate and advance the common agenda of the Alliance through actions planned under existing and forthcoming partnership agreements.

The health partnership seeks to turn-around under resourced surveillance systems and outbreak preparedness and response in various communities to protect populations and limit the spread of external public health threats to West Africa and those endemic in the region and beyond.

According to the latest press release by the Institut Pasteur de Dakar, IPD will support development of realistic outbreak scenarios deployed to prepare ECOWAS member states in their training and preparedness for response and national contingency plans.

As the project meets its goals, the Alliance will represent a critically important convergence of complementary expertise to promote health security in Africa and mitigate the risk of global threats spreading to and from the region”, noted Dr Amadou Alpha Sall, CEO, Institut Pasteur de Dakar.

The African-led initiative will also significantly contribute to the development of ARC’s Outbreaks & Epidemics risk insurance product to enable early containment of epidemic-prone diseases and respond to acute public health emergencies.

Meanwhile, IPD, ARC, and WAHO continue to work closely together to mitigate the adverse impact of health emergencies in the ECOWAS region in line with their respective mandate and in collaboration with various partners such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

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