ZAMBIA — Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema has called upon the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to assume a leadership role in assisting Africa in developing homegrown solutions to public health concerns rather than relying on external support.

Africa CDC, an autonomous continental health agency of the African Union, is designed to bolster Member States’ public health endeavours, and enhance the capacity of national public health institutions to swiftly and effectively detect, prevent, control, and respond to disease threats.

Hichilema underlined the necessity for Africa to take a proactive stance in preparing for future health challenges during a meeting with a delegation led by Africa CDC Director Jean Kaseya on Thursday.

He also emphasized the importance of finding solutions to meet the healthcare needs of the continent, citing the example of the COVID-19 pandemic, which exposed Africa’s lack of readiness to confront health challenges.

“I believe the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that such a crisis can disrupt everything. While other parts of the world had access to vaccines, we did not. This underscores the significance of developing indigenous solutions, solutions that originate within Africa,” he stated.

The Zambian President stressed that the Africa CDC should play a pivotal role in assisting Africa in creating homegrown solutions in partnership with global allies who possess the necessary technology, financial resources, and knowledge.

Hichilema also asserted that it is time for Africa to reduce its reliance on imported pharmaceutical products and, instead, promote local manufacturing of medicines and medical supplies.

He commended the Africa CDC for its efforts in ensuring health security on the continent, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent recovery phase.

In response, the Africa CDC Director congratulated Hichilema for his commitment to improving healthcare in Zambia.

Africa CDC was established in January 2016 during the 26th Ordinary Assembly of Heads of State and Government and was officially inaugurated in January 2017.

The institution serves as a platform for member states to exchange information and share lessons learned from public health interventions.

Furthermore, it aids African Union Member States in delivering coordinated and integrated solutions to address deficiencies in their public health infrastructure, human resource capacity, disease surveillance, laboratory diagnostics, preparedness, and response to health emergencies and catastrophes.

Africa CDC is designed to operate on a decentralized approach, enabling collaboration with the National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs) of Member States through five Regional Coordination Centers (RCC).

These five RCCs are located in Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia, corresponding to the Northern Africa, Central Africa, Eastern Africa, Western Africa, and Southern Africa regions, respectively.

The RCCs serve as focal points for Africa CDC’s monitoring, preparedness, and emergency response efforts, as well as for coordinating regional public health initiatives by Member States in collaboration with Africa CDC headquarters.

For all the latest healthcare industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, and YouTube Channel, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook.