The African Union establishes a Unified Health Coordinating Group for Zoonotic Diseases – Africa CDC

To coordinate, support, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the African Union One Health Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Zoonotic Diseases in Member States, the African Union Interagency Group on One Health was established. The inter-agency was launched during a One Health meeting held from 13-14 June 2022 at AU-IBAR in Nairobi, Kenya. The Inter-Agency consists of several AU offices mandated to deal with various aspects of human/animal health interventions, namely: the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC); African Union Inter-African Bureau of Animal Resources (AU-IBAR); The Scientific, Technical and Research Commission (STRC); Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Blue Economy (DARBE); Department of Health, Human Affairs and Social Development (HHS); Inter-African Phytosanitary Council (AU-IAPSC); and Citizens and Diaspora Organizations (CIDOs).

The interagency unit will be charged specifically with achieving several goals; namely: the development of the AU One Health Strategy for zoonotic diseases; the development of a consensus road map for the implementation of a health strategy for zoonotic diseases in Africa; undertake an inventory of activities related to the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases; coordinate, monitor and evaluate the implementation activities of the AU One Health Strategy for zoonotic diseases; compiling an inventory of the activities related to the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases undertaken by the various AU institutions, documenting the roles of the institutions in the control and prevention of zoonotic diseases and coordinating the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the AU One Health Strategy for zoonotic activities.

The Inter-Agency is composed of senior representatives and experts from the following African Union bodies: Office of the AUC Chairperson or Office of the Deputy Chairperson; Pan African Center for Veterinary Vaccines (AU-PANVAC); Inter-African Bureau of Animal Resources (AU-IBAR); Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC); Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Department; Directorate “Women, Gender and Youth”; Citizens and Diaspora Organizations (CIDO); The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD); Scientific-Technical and Research Commission (STC); Inter-African Phytosanitary Council (IAPSC); Pan-African Campaign to Eliminate Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis (PATTEC); Directorate for Sustainable Environment and Blue Economy (SEBE); and Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development (Health Systems, Diseases and Nutrition Department). The working group will function through meetings that will convene twice a year, in person or virtually. The working group secretariat will be jointly hosted by CDC Africa and AU-IBAR. The AU-IBAR Africa CDC Joint Secretariat will provide support in terms of logistics and information resources to support the operations of meetings, groups and individuals as required.

One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral and transdisciplinary approach to achieving optimal health outcomes for people, animals, plants and their shared environment. In practice, One Health involves the collaboration between the human, animal and environmental health sectors and other stakeholders in the development and implementation of programs, policies, legislation and research designed to achieve better health outcomes for all. The One Health approach is critical for the accelerated implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005), OIE standards, to preserve the socio-economic and political integration of the continent and to achieve the aspirations of the AU Agenda 2063: Africa, which we want. Zoonotic diseases reduce food availability, creating local and international trade barriers. According to the World Bank (2010), the direct cost of zoonotic diseases over the past decade is estimated at more than $20 billion, with over $200 billion in direct losses to affected economies. For example, there are over $3.6 trillion in losses from COVID-19, $53 billion in losses from the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak, $20 billion from Zika, and $8.6 billion from rabies, among others.

For more information contact:
Dr. Hiver Boussini, Senior Animal Health Specialist, AU-IBAR: [email protected]
Dr. James Wabacha, Animal Health Expert, AU-IBAR; [email protected]
Dr. Yewande Alimiy, AMR Program Coordinator, Africa – CDC [email protected]

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