Interview: Africa CDC chief extols cooperation with China, eyes boosting public health ties

(Xinhua) 11:29, February 07, 2024

ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Director-General of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Jean Kaseya has hailed China's support in improving public health in Africa while calling for strengthening Africa-China cooperation in this area.

"We are expanding our cooperation with China in terms of capacity building, program support, technical assistance, and health information," the Africa CDC chief told Xinhua in a recent interview in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

Reiterating the Africa CDC's keen interest in improving ties with China, Kaseya highlighted fruitful ongoing collaborative works with China that are helping to realize the African Union (AU) agency's priority areas of intervention, which ultimately aim to improve public health in Africa.

Noting that the African continent experiences two new disease outbreaks every week, Kaseya said the Africa CDC is working to ensure that African countries are well prepared to prevent and respond to current and future disease outbreaks.

Noting the critical importance of promoting local manufacturing of medical products and building strong healthcare systems in Africa, Kaseya emphasized that working with China enhances the ability of the Africa CDC in particular and African countries in general to achieve their priority goals.

"We have to ensure that Africans can start to manufacture their vaccines and medicines thanks to the support we are getting from China," he said.

As the Africa CDC recently marked its seventh anniversary, Kaseya hailed China's support in enabling the agency to fulfill its role through capacity building and technical support.

The Chinese-built Africa CDC headquarters, which is regarded as a flagship project in China-Africa public health cooperation, was officially inaugurated in Addis Ababa in January 2023. In November 2023, the Africa CDC also unveiled a China-aided reference laboratory at its headquarters.

The completion of the laboratory marks a milestone in the quest for a strong continental public health institution that will support AU members in improving disease diagnosis, surveillance, and outbreak response, according to the Africa CDC.

"This building (the new Africa CDC headquarters) and the laboratory are making Africa and Africa CDC operate at another level. Thanks to the cooperation we have with China, all these partners who came to celebrate the seventh anniversary of the Africa CDC were excited to see that, with China, we are moving to another step," Kaseya said.

Since it was established in January 2016 by African leaders and officially launched one year later, the Africa CDC has spearheaded continental response efforts against various public health threats, ranging from the Ebola virus outbreak to the most recent COVID-19 pandemic.

The AU public health agency last week marked its seventh anniversary under the theme "A Journey of Commitment and Action to Safeguard Africa's Health," highlighting its achievements in supporting public health initiatives on the continent and strengthening the capacity of African public health institutions to detect, prevent, control and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Zhong Wenxing)


Related Stories