Africa Public Health Foundation to Address Epidemic Preparedness and Response

05 Sep 2019

Oliver Cann, Public Engagement, Tel.: +41 79 799 34 05; Email:

· An acute public health event in Africa is reported every four days and the costs of infectious disease crises are rising

· The new Africa Public Health Foundation will support the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

· New foundation will facilitate public-private cooperation on strengthening health security across the continent

· Follow the 2019 World Economic Forum on Africa at

Cape Town, South Africa, 5 September 2019 – The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), in partnership with the African Union and World Economic Forum, today announces the establishment of the Africa Public Health Foundation (APHF). The foundation will facilitate public-private cooperation on supporting Africa CDC’s mission to strengthen health and economic security.

Disease outbreaks are serious health security threats and are increasingly an impediment to economic growth in Africa. The cost, for example, of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak to three affected west African countries is estimated to be $53 billion. Overall, the annual global cost of moderately severe to severe pandemics is roughly $570 billion, or 0.7% of global income – a cost in the same order of magnitude as climate change.

“We are in a new era of epidemic risk. Mitigating risk and impact of epidemics on lives and livelihoods requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, engaging all sectors,” said Ryan Morhard, Lead, Global Health Security at the World Economic Forum.

The APHF will align itself with the mission and vision of the Africa CDC to support member states build their capacity to better detect and respond to diseases outbreaks and emergencies. It will advance public-private cooperation to strengthen health systems, develop the healthcare workforce, support innovations for public health, and advocate for robust policies, regulations and partnerships for resource mobilization.

The creation of the APHF further delivers on the declaration made by the Heads of States and Governments (HoSG) of African countries in July 2017, tasking Africa CDC, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) with accelerating the implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR). The regulations were established to support member states strengthen their health systems to better prepare and respond to emergencies and disease threats.

Bernard Haufiku, Minister of Health of Namibia (2015-2018) and Adviser to the President of Namibia, will be taking on the role of Founder of APHF.

“Africa CDC is privileged with the political will of the highest levels of African leadership and shall harness this opportunity to advance its mission in addressing the public health emergencies that the continent faces,” said Amira Elfadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union. “Our joint efforts and in collaboration with all stakeholders will allow us to be better prepared for pandemics and emergency responses, and it is through such partnerships we can move towards a better, healthier Africa.”

“No one doubts that the road to pandemic preparedness requires unprecedented levels of political and financial engagement,” said John Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC. “It is difficult but achievable. The health of the continent, and of the world, depends on all of us keeping our commitments.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to transform Africa’s response to health security and emergency preparedness through the Africa Public Health Foundation,” said Amit N. Thakker, Executive Chairman, Africa Health Business. “This unique platform shall allow all partners including philanthropists and private corporates, to transform the face of healthcare in Africa.”

The Africa CDC mission is to strengthen Africa’s public health institution’s capacities, capabilities and partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks based on science, policy and data-driven interventions and programmes.

The World Economic Forum is committed to managing the risks associated with emerging infectious diseases of epidemic and pandemic potential through innovative, cross-industry and cross-sectoral public-private cooperation, strengthening national and global health security. Leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week to contribute to this agenda, which includes providing a briefing on the ongoing Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The 2019 World Economic Forum on Africa takes place in Cape Town, South Africa, 4-6 September, under the theme Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The meeting will convene more than 1,000 regional and global leaders from government, business, civil society and academia. This gathering will explore new models to help Africa achieve success at a time when technology is creating dramatic economic and societal shifts. The meeting’s highly interactive programme will also cover issues as diverse as skills and education, the ocean economy, the economic impact of drones, free trade and e-commerce.

The Co-Chairs of the 2019 World Economic on Africa are Ellen Agler, Chief Executive Officer, The END Fund, USA; Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom; Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC), Geneva; André Hoffmann, Vice-Chairman, Roche, Switzerland; Alex Liu, Managing Partner and Chairman, A. T. Kearney, USA; Jim Ovia, Chairman, Zenith Bank, Nigeria; Sipho M. Pityana, Chairman, AngloGold Ashanti, South Africa.

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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.
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