African Union meets in Lusaka, Zambia

By Oleen Ndori

The African Union meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, is deliberating on the progress made to elevate the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa-CDC) into an autonomous continental health agency.

Foreign ministers from African Union member states are meeting in Lusaka to deliberate on strategies for the continent to respond to future pandemics and other disease outbreaks after the Covid-19 menace.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Fredrick Shava says a well-functioning Africa CDC is a key enabler in the quest for health security in Africa.

“The status of operationalisation of the Africa-CDC highlighted by the report indicates that there are still a number of outstanding issues before the targeted goal of an independent health agency sufficiently enabled to function efficiently is attained. Furthermore, the review and amendments of some AU regulations, rules and practices to facilitate the swift responses often required in the operations of the Africa-CDC are still to be done. Only when these statutes have been approved, can the Africa CDC’s new structure and requisite staff, as well as the Africa-CDC Financing Facility be appropriately considered by the relevant structures,” he said.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, highlighted that operationalisation of the Africa-CDC will provide a tangible outlook for the country that will host the African Medicines Agency.

“The operationalisation of Phase I and II of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (AFRICA-CDC) will go a long way in the support that will be given to the country that will eventually host the Africa Medicines Agency,” he noted.

The two-day meeting is also considering adoption of the draft agenda of the 4th Mid-Year Coordination meeting between the Bureau of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government and Chairpersons of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), scheduled to take place on Sunday in Lusaka, Zambia.