Ministry of Health has officially endorsed the establishment and operations of the Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, a continental institution that promotes research-based evidence in fighting pandemics and other diseases.
Deputy Minister of Health Chrissy Kalamula Kanyasho made the endorsement on behalf of the Malawi Government during last week’s inaugural regional ministerial consultative meeting for the southern Africa region held in Lusaka, Zambia.
In an interview yesterday, she said government believes that the country will be able to benefit alongside other African nations in fighting pandemics such as Covid-19 and advocating for more vaccines from wealthy nations.
Kanyasho said: “As a country, we have endorsed the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. We believe it is good for Malawi and southern Africa.
“We will speak with one voice, if we are divided, no one will listen to us and we can’t progress.
“As a country, we have so many gaps in the health system. That is the reason that joining the CDC will benefit us more in terms of shared research and new discoveries. If we are united, we are going to have power and influence than going it alone.”
She cited the red listing of eight African nations, including Malawi by European nations and the United States of America due to the new Covid-19 variant as reason the countries need to work together.
On the immediate benefits from the Africa CDC, the Deputy Minister said the country is set to have a specialised training programme for pandemic specialists championed by a specialist doctor from Namibia who has already committed to come to Malawi to train personnel to specially deal with the pandemics.
Health rights activist Maziko Matemba said yesterday that the endorsement will help in fostering country ownership to some of the pandemics and Africa needs to start migrating from donor dependance.
He said prevailing Covid-19 inequalities on access to vaccines with other developed nations is a big lesson on access to affordable and timely vaccines.
Matemba said: “This will encourage local home-grown research solutions for Africa health systems and, as civil society organiSations, we have been encouraging taping from domestic resources for Africans to own their problems and offer solutions so this will motivate our researchers.”
Africa CDC has five pillars, namely surveillance and disease intelligence, epidemic preparedness and response, laboratory systems and networks, information systems, public health research and capacity building.
In 2015, the 24th Assembly of the African Union established the Africa CDC and Prevention and its framework of operation which supports the establishment of Regional Collaborating Centres.