The African Union Commission and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have called for more investment in Africa’s New Public Health Order to drive global health security. The request for support was made at a series of events leading up to the 77th United Nations General Assembly.
The New Public Health Order for Africa is a roadmap to sustainable health outcomes and health security. It is defined by five pillars:
- Strong African Public Health Institutions that represent African priorities in global health governance and that drive progress on key health indicators;
- Expanded Manufacturing of Vaccines, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics to democratize access to life-saving medicines and equipment;
- Investment in Public Health Workforce and Leadership Programs to ensure Africa has the workforce it needs to address health threats;
- Increased Domestic Investment in Health, including the domestic mobilization of financial resources, human capital, technical resources, and networks; and
- Respectful, Action-Oriented Partnerships to advance vaccine manufacturing, health workforce development, and strong public health institutions.
African leaders called for support to strengthen Africa’s public health institutions. This includes the Africa CDC which led the coordination of Africa’s pandemic response, helping to significantly reduce loss of life during COVID-19.
“To achieve its public health goals, the African Union Assembly in February 2022 granted Africa CDC autonomy to be able to fulfill its mandate, supporting member states to achieve health sovereignty,” said African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki. “But Africa CDC alone cannot meet this challenge,” he added.
Leaders also called upon all vaccine-purchasing mechanisms, such as the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization (GAVI), to purchase at least 30 percent of their vaccines from manufacturers in Africa. While Africa currently produces one percent of its routinely used vaccines, it has set a bold target of meeting up to 60 percent of its vaccine demand through regional manufacturing by 2040.
Health workforce development was another prominent focus. According to the WHO, Africa currently has a ratio of 1.55 health workers perr 1,000 people. This is below the WHO threshold density of 4.45 health workers per 1,000 people needed to deliver essential health services and achieve universal health coverage.
To advance progress towards stronger public health institutions, a robust workforce, and medical manufacturing in Africa, the Africa CDC and African Union Commission need partners. Leaders emphasized that the nature of these partnerships is important and called for partnerships oriented around principles of mutuality and respect, that recognize African knowledge and expertise and deliver contextually relevant support and programs.
Africa CDC is a continental public health agency of the African Union whose role is to strengthen the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions. It also uses partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks based on data-driven interventions and programs.