Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo has called for the strengthening of the Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC) in a bid to enhance the continent’s readiness to address emerging and future health crises. Omamo made the appeal on Thursday during the 40th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council in Addis Ababa.

She emphasized on the need to transform Africa CDC, which was launched on January 31 2017 as a specialized Technical Institution of the Africa Union, in order to make it fit for purpose to not only be able to respond efficiently, effectively and on a timely manner to the prevailing pandemic but also any other disease outbreaks that may strike in the future.

“While we may not wish to experience another pandemic like COVID-19, it will be very unrealistic of us to rule out an outbreak of other pandemic either regionally or globally. In order to be fully prepared to respond, we must ensure that Africa CDC is properly engineered to live up to its task and fit for purpose”

The Executive Council held deliberations on February 2 and 3 to deliberate on a number of issues in preparation for the 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union to be held on 5th – 6th February, 2022.

The Council considered a number of issues including: full operationalization of the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), African candidates and candidatures to the international system and inclusion of Kiswahili as one of the working languages of the African Union. The Assembly will mark the first physical Summit to be held since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in 2020.

The statutory meetings of the African Union are held under strict conformity to COVID-19 protocols in accordance to the advice of the Africa CDC on the safety protocols on COVID-19 including limited participation of delegates per meeting, daily testing of all delegates, proof of full vaccination among others.

Kenya’s delegation to the AU Assembly will be led by President Uhuru Kenyatta who will be accompanied by Amb.  Omamo, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani and Amb Jean Kamau, Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU.

At least 25 African Heads of State and Government are expected to attend the summit which will consider and adopt key reports, key among them Progress Report on the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) which will be presented  by President Kenyatta in his capacity as the Champion of ALMA. Further President Kenyatta will also present the African Union Peace and Security Council Agenda for the Month of February 2022 in which Kenya is the Chair of the Month.

The ALMA report provides an update on the status of Malaria on the African Continent, progress towards the targets set in the Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB and eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030. The report will also include activities taken to mitigate the adverse impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on malaria services.

The theme of this year Summit is: Building Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent: ‘Strengthen Agriculture, Accelerate the Human Capital, Social and Economic Development’.

Edited By: Chepkosgei Jedidah