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Africa CDC Holds International Covid-19 Conference in December

Africa CDC Holds International Covid-19 Conference in December

The director of the African Union Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) announced on Thursday that an international conference on public health in Africa will be held in December.

“Between 14 and 16 December this year Africa CDC will host an international conference on Covid-19 in Africa, for the first time we will come together to discuss the impact of the pandemic on the economy, security and way of life on the continent,” said John Nkengasong during the organisation’s weekly press conference.

Questioned by Lusa about whether the conference will be face-to-face or online, Nkengasong said that this year the meeting will still be virtual, but expressed hope that in 2022 the meeting will be face-to-face.

“This year the format will be online, but next year we hope to hold this conference face to face, because nothing replaces close contact when it comes to exchanging information and sharing experiences,” said the Cameroonian doctor.

The conference, which has yet to be announced, will be entitled ‘A new order of public health on the continent’ and will address the different challenges facing Africa, he added.

“We don’t have the luxury of dealing with Covid-19, beating it, and then dealing with other epidemics, like the Marburg or Ebola outbreaks, we have to be able to fight these challenges at the same time, because these diseases are here and it is only a matter of time before there is a new epidemic or pandemic, we cannot prevent the outbreaks, but we can prevent the spread of the outbreaks through surveillance and rapid action,” the Africa CDC leader argued.

The multi-sectoral conference will also try to “bring the private agents to the centre of the debate, not only the clinical person or the pharmaceutical companies, but also the entrepreneurs and the great innovators,” he said, stressing that a permanent team (‘task-force’) to combat current and future pandemics is being prepared.

This ‘new public health order’ will have five pillars: strengthening health services, increasing the workforce, respectful partnerships, health development and African production of health supplies and vaccines, Nkengasong concluded.

Africa has recorded 1 134 deaths associated with covid-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic to 179 986, and 33 113 new infections, according to the latest official data.

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