In February, Africa elected Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat as the new chairperson of the African Union Commission (AU) replacing South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
One of the most remarkable advances in global health under the leadership of Dlamini-Zuma, was the formation of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a public health agency to lead the transformation of Africa’s health.
The birth of Africa CDC is timely and crucial because it will address the uneven burden of disease as evident in sub-Saharan Africa that carries 11 percent of the world’s population but 24 percent of disease burden as per the AU Commission Strategic Plan 2014-2017.
As the secretariat to the Civil Society platform for Health in Africa (CISPHA), we are elated to witness the formation of this historic initiative – which Africa’s civil society advocated for vigorously.
It is a significant opportunity for Africa to improve the health of its people – a key element in shaping the continent’s sustainable development. We urge Mahamat to strengthen this new outfit and anchor it as a centerpiece of his leadership.
The weakness of many institutions in Africa lack of clear leadership and sufficient resources. We hope that the chairperson will give the agency the support it needs – both in leadership and in resources – to allow it to achieve its mandate of achieving better health for the people of the continent.