Thursday, April 16, 2015

Blog #9: Disease Detection Gets A Boost With Plans For A CDC In Africa

     In 1946, a malaria outbreak across the Southern U.S. catalyzed the formation of what would eventually become the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Then in 2002, China's CDC began its operations just as an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, took hold. Now, as the work Ebola outbreak winds down, Africa health officials announce Monday they will partner with the U.S. to establish a continent-wide Africa CDC. The idea for an Africa CDC first came to light at the 2013 African Union Special Summit on HIV and AIDS, Tuberculous and Malaria in Abuja, Nigeria. Ebola has ramped up the pace and are speeding up the timeline, U.S. health officials said Monday. The African CDC will initially set up shop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which is home to the African Union later this year. Soon after, five regional centers will open at undetermined locations across the continent. Field epidemiologist will staff each location and "will be responsible for disease surveillance, investigations, analysis and reporting trends and anomalies, " said the CDC Monday. In the event of an emergency--such as Ebola-- the office in Addis Ababa will act as a central command post, organizing and deploying teams of medical workers. Dr. Thomas Kenyon, director of the U.S. CDC's center for Global Heath tells us that Africa is already beginning to work on emergency dispatching. He also says the African CDC will "take advantage of existing structures to make it additive to what's already there," he tells NPR. They will link together agencies and laboratories from various countries to use each others strengths and weaknesses for a great outcome. Also to make this happen, the U.S. CDC is donating both brainpower and troops on the ground, as well as technical expertise, and help the African CDC's long-term, strategic planning. Africa also needs funding from within their Countries in order to allow it to work, so 54 member states of the African Union will ultimately be responsible for funding the organization.

     Wow, this is so exciting to hear about! It is funny how much I really do not know, because previously to reading this article I thought the CDC was a global organization being used to help every country in the world. Honestly, I am not sure how I thought that was possible, but reading this article was shocking to think that a whole entire country has no means of relief, strategy, or really anything to contribute to help their own people. Reading this is exciting news for them, because this will begin to relieve African countries state of dependency on other developed countries around the world. Although it will be a long road to develop this in its entirety it's great they have sped up the process due to a great need of health relief from Ebola, and by linking other agencies so they won't have to start from scratch. African CDC is looking up to become a great organization that could potential change the state of diseases over taking their continent.

Anna Hunsucker
16 April 2015

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