Centre for Disease Control refuses to declare cholera public health emergency in SADC


The African Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Governing Board has rejected the submission to declare cholera a public health emergency in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

The African CDC this month submitted to the Board to declare cholera a public health emergency in the SADC region following the escalation in the number of deaths being recorded in countries such Zambia and Zimbabwe.

CDC Governing Board Chairperson, Sylvia Masebo, said this on Wednesday when she chaired the Extraordinary Session of the Governing Board in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Masebo said regardless of cholera having affected almost 15 Member States in SADC and Eastern Africa, the SADC Ministers of Health observed that individual countries should decide to either declare the outbreak as health emergency or not.

“The ongoing devastating impact of cholera and other infectious diseases on our continent must encourage Member states to develop proactive interventions to prevent future occurrences,” she stated.

Masebo who is Zambia’s Minister of Health further encouraged Member States to fast-track the establishment of National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs).

The Minister commended Africa CDC on remarkable progress being made in operationalizing the Lusaka Call To Action, to ensure that African Union Member States develop clear Public Health Emergency Operations Centers’ roadmaps.

“This must be backed by legal mandates, and equipped with the right infrastructures, human and financial resources,” she emphasized.

Masebo also thanked President Hakainde Hichilema, for the decision to elevate the opening session of the recently concluded 3rd Conference of Public Health in Africa to a State Function status.

The Minister urged CDC Governing Board members and partners to support Africa CDC to carry out its mandate and work diligently to address multiple public health threats and epidemics in Africa.

Read More: 2,543 vaccinated against cholera in correctional facilities, as cumulative deaths reach 584

On the CDC 7th Anniversary celebration, the Minister commended Africa CDC and said the theme “A journey of commitment, hard work on and action to safeguard Africa’s health security agenda”, was timely and befitting as the continent faces many public health security issues at the moment.

Africa CDC Director General Dr. Jean Kaseya said the CDC Governing Board Meeting would allow Member States to work on documents for the forthcoming Committee of Heads of States and Government of Africa CDC.

Kaseya disclosed that the meeting was scheduled to be held on the sidelines of the forthcoming African Union Summit.

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