OPINION: A CDC for Africa

Friday, August 18, 2017

More than 65 years ago Americans found a way to ensure that no one would have to die from malaria ever again. The disease was eliminated in the U.S. in 1951, thanks to strategies created through the Office of Malaria Control in War Areas, formed in 1942, and the Communicable Disease Center (now the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), founded in 1946.

The idea for Africa’s own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) was devised in 2013 and formalized after the worst Ebola outbreak in history the following year. The Africa CDC, which was officially launched in January of this year, is a growing partnership that aims to build countries’ capacity to help create a world that is safe and secure from infectious disease threats.

Just as Americans made the formation of their CDC a priority, Africans have a responsibility to ensure the funding and development of our CDC to keep diseases from further altering the course of our socioeconomic transformation. Ebola is terrifying to many people, but malaria is a more devastating illness: the latest World Health Organization statistics show that more than 400,000 people died from the disease in 2015, and 92 percent of those deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. Further, six countries in Africa account for 47 percent of all global malaria cases.

Source: Scientific American (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases, public health