Biosecurity: Africa CDC adopts Nigeria, DRC as regional chairs

Hauwa Mustapha

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The Africa Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC) has adopted Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) respectively as Chair for West and Central Africa Regional Biosafety and Biosecurity Technical Working Groups.

Both countries were adopted at the Africa CDC 4-day virtual meeting holding from 2nd to 5th February, 2021.

The meeting was opened by Acting Coordinator of the Regional Collaborating Centre for Central Africa, Dr Anne-Marie Antchouey.

In April 2019, Africa CDC launched an initiative to strengthen the biosecurity and biosafety systems of African Union Member States to comply with the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005), the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), and United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540.

Supported by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) biosecurity programme, Global Affairs Canada’s Weapons Threat Reduction Program, Open Philanthropy Project, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

The initiative aims to help protect Africans against the deliberate or accidental release of bacteria, viruses, or other harmful biological agents.

Under the programme, Africa CDC works with Members States to develop a consensus list of high-consequence pathogens, agents as well as guidance documents on how to protect themselves against these pathogens.

Support will be provided for the development of National Action Plans for Health Security (NAPHS), which would include an inventory of dangerous biological agents, actions required for shared responsibility, methods to better evaluate risks posed by biological research or advances in technology, and how to ensure safe transfer of biological agents.

Hauwa Mustapha

 

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