China, US to work together to help build African CDC

Updated: 2015-06-25 16:08


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WASHINGTON - China and the United States will work together to support the African Union in building the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (African CDC), a Chinese health official said in Washington Wednesday.

"The African Union is an intergovernmental organization in Africa, its experience from the Ebola crisis has made it become more aware that it is important to strengthen disease surveillance and monitoring efforts at the regional level," said Ren Minghui, director of the department of international cooperation of the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

Ren was speaking at a news briefing on the sidelines of the sixth China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange, which was wrapped up Wednesday evening in Washington, DC.

Since the end of last year, the African Union has been talking with Chinese and US governments, including the two countries' CDCs, on building a regional disease prevention and control system, he told reporters.

This year, the African Union sent a delegation to visit China's CDC and look at China's national disease surveillance and reporting system, while a memorandum of cooperation on building the African CDC was signed by the African Union and the US, said Ren.

"Now, the three parties are exploring ways of further cooperation," he said. "Based on a unified and integrated plan, China and the US are willing to leverage their respective strengths to support the African Union in building this system, which will be the first regional disease surveillance system on the African continent."

"And of course, we also welcome other countries and international organizations to support building the health institute," Ren added.

The need for an African CDC was recognized at the African Union Special Summit on HIV and AIDS, TB and Malaria in Abuja, Nigeria, in July 2013.

According to a US CDC statement released in April, the African CDC is slated to launch later this year with the establishment of an African Surveillance and Response Unit, which will include an Emergency Operations Center.