Africa CDC/WAHO launch W/African disease surveillance network

Africa CDC

The Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC), in collaboration with West African Health Organisation (WAHO), on Friday in Abuja, launched a Regional Integrated Surveillance and Laboratory Network (RISLNET) for West Africa.
The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said the implementation of RISLNET would bring member states together to assess their health security strengths, public health laboratories, and surveillance.
He said this would ensure they were better prepared to respond to public health threats.
According to reports that RISLNET was established by the Africa CDC to integrate all public health laboratories, surveillance, and emergency response assets.
“To prevent, detect and rapidly respond to emergencies, we need strong partnerships to timeously, effectively and efficiently deploy public health assets across Africa.
“Strengthened collaboration among Africa’s laboratory systems is a prerequisite for building a resilient continental health security architecture,” he said.
He added that RISLNET envisioned a safer, healthier, integrated and stronger Africa, whereby member states were capable of effectively responding to outbreaks of infectious diseases and other public health threats.
Dr Mohammed Abdulaziz, Head of Disease Control and Prevention, Africa CDC, said the overall objective of the implementation was to support the region with activities to strengthen cross-border referral and surveillance and laboratory capacities.
“RISLNET is integrated into the operations of the Africa CDC Regional Collaborating Centres (RCCs), hence, there are five RISLNET networks hosted at the Central Africa, Eastern Africa, Northern Africa, Southern Africa and Western Africa RCCs.
“Africa CDC is already implementing RISLNET in other regions on the continent, and intends to extend its support to ongoing and new RISLNET activities on the continent.
“As such, Africa CDC will partner with WAHO to work with selected partners to implement select objectives of the RISLNET initiative.
“The West Africa RISLNET will focus on diseases most prevalent and endemic in the region to foster specialised expertise in disease control and prevention on particular diseases,” he said.
Abdulaziz said it was also to enhance efficiencies of existing public health assets to prevent, detect, and respond to current and emerging public health threats, including potential outbreaks and the spread of infectious diseases.
He said the implementation allowed member states to exchange experiences and challenges during sessions moderated by experienced facilitators.
Also speaking at the launch, Dr Abderhamane Sow, Head of laboratory services, WAHO, said WHO had done extensive work in West Africa, including some RISLNET-related work like surveillance and laboratory establishment/strengthening.
Sow said aligning grant activities to WAHO’s ongoing activities was vital to prevent duplication of work and to ensure a prudent and efficient use of resources.
NAN also reports that the 3-day workshop titled, “Central Africa Regional Integrated Surveillance and Laboratory Network (RISLNET), implementation for the West African Region,” was organised by the African Union/Africa CDC and WAHO.
The workshop introduced Global Health Systems Solutions and Institut Pasteur Dakar as the partners who would work closely with Africa CDC, WAHO, and the regional member states for RISLNET implementation in the region.
The selection of GHSS as an implementing partner to work directly with Africa CDC in the implementation of a grant received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support Africa CDC in implementing its regional framework in the West African region.

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