Sunday, December 13, 2015

Enhancing African and African-led capacity for disease surveillance meeting opens in Arusha

10 December 2015


Enhancing African and African-led capacity for disease surveillance

 stakeholder conference 14- 15 December, Arusha, Tanzania


An unprecedented outbreak of the Ebola virus has shocked the world; MERS is spreading; and Africa continues to suffer from chronic neglected tropical diseases


·      How can we work together to enhance African-led capacity for disease surveillance and ensure earlier, faster, smoother and smarter management of epidemics?


·      Bring frontline One Health voices to the policy table?


·      Ensure sustainable, community-led African solutions to African challenges


Frontline experts will be gathering to showcase best practice for managing disease outbreaks and exploring ways of enhancing African and African-led capacity building, during a ground-breaking Enhancing African and African-led Capacity for disease surveillance stakeholder conference in Arusha, Tanzania, 14 – 15 December 2015.


The Conference is being organised by disease surveillance networks in Africa SACIDS and EAIDSNet, facilitated by CORDS Network.


It follows the lifecycle of an outbreak (before, during and after) bringing together One Health experts, regional disease surveillance networks, government representatives, community leaders and funders to look at how we detect disease outbreaks earlier and respond faster.


The Conference will provide a platform for networks to showcase success; share best practice globally with disease surveillance networks from around the world and engage in dialogue with African regional stakeholders and international donors to explore future collaborations and partnerships.


During the Conference, we will be looking at:-


Earlier detection – Using digital technology driven community-based disease surveillance and cross-border data sharing practices


Faster reporting – Innovative systems for affordable bio-safety driven technical solutions for epidemic recognition and genomic driven diagnostics for resource compromised laboratories and field situations


Smoother co-ordination – One Health approaches with cross sector and cross border information sharing in real time


Smarter legacy - Learning lessons from the frontline to build more resilient communities.


Sharing knowledge and experience - Developments for a West African surveillance network (WANIDS) being implemented by WAHO and facilitated by CORDS Network


"Our Goal is to create a healthier, safer and more secure World United Against Infectious Diseases by connecting national, regional and international agencies and stakeholders to detect epidemics earlier and respond faster.


This workshop will bring together frontline experts, governments and international funders to explore ways of developing African-led solutions to African challenges and work to develop sustainable community led interventions", says Prof Nigel Lightfoot CBE, Executive Director of CORDS.


Dr Willy Were from EAIDSNet says

"Notably, 75% of emerging and re-emerging diseases are of animal origin (zoonotic); and 80% of all health conditions are related to environmental conditions. Managing these conditions therefore needs contributions from health, animal, agriculture, and all sectors related to managing people, animals and the environment - this is the One Health Approach.


The Ebola virus disease epidemic in West Africa has shown the importance of this approach. Every sector was involved"


Professor Mark Rweyemamu, Executive Director, SACIDS says

"Our method applies the One Health concept, which is a holistic approach to infectious diseases in people, animals and the environment. This approach engages

environmental, sociological and governance disciplines, in addition to those

involved in human  and veterinary medicine.


We do so because increasingly the disease causing agents (viruses, bacteria and parasites) are either spreading across the humans and animal species, are surviving in the environments shared by people and animals, or are developing resistance to antibiotics and other drugs. We also do so because these pathogens (disease causing agents) can be spread readily to new areas because of either globalisation or climate change. So our crusade is one of striving to outsmart the pathogen.


In Africa, we have additional and unique issues: we have diseases, which have been

eliminated from other parts of the world, or which occur only in Africa. Therefore our

concern is far more than dealing with the threat posed by emerging diseases. 


We have the highest burden of infectious diseases of people and animals and yet we

have the least capacity to prevent the occurrence, spread and control of such

diseases. So, this unique African problem, requires uniquely designed scientific,

operational and financial resources.


This crusade needs to be spearheaded by Africa scientists and African policy makers. It needs to be focused at the community level so that it can be nationally, regionally and continentally effective. This is what we in SACIDS refer to as: working towards ensuring COMMUNITY LEVEL ONE HEALTH SECURITY".




We have the following experts available for interview at our pre-conference press briefing on 13 December and during the Conference.


SACIDS - Prof Mark Rweyemamu, Dr Esron D. Karimuribo


EAIDSNet – Dr Julius Lutwama and Dr Andrew Kittua


CORDS  - Emma Orefuwa. Programme Manager

               - Dr Bakary Sylla Project Director, West African Network development


Tanzania's Government Representatives:  -

Dr Janeth Mghamba – Assistant Director, Epidemiology and Program Director TFELTP at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare

Dr Emmanuel Swai – National Epidemiologist at the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development


Delegate - Jean-Jacques Muyembe, Director-General of the Democratic Republic of the Congo National Institute for Biomedical Research and Professor of Microbiology at Kinshasa University Medical School. Member of the WHO Advisory Group on the Ebola Virus Disease Response.

For interview bids or media inquiries please contact: -


Catherine Magambo, Communications Consultant for SACIDS


Phone: (+) 255 767 339 393


Helen Ashley, Communications Consultant for CORDS


Phone (+) 444 7976 804314 Skype Helen.ashley7