EDCTP and Africa CDC EPI Biostat Fellows: Background

For decades, Africa has faced challenges in responding to public health emergencies. Epidemiological data is often unavailable or severely limited and there is a shortage of skilled personnel and systems to collect and analyse available data and efficiently translate them into policy and practice. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the severe shortages of public health workforce and infrastructure and the inadequate capacity for public health research and emergency response across Africa.

Training programmes are needed to develop a cohort of epidemiologists across sub-Saharan Africa and beyond, who can work in collaboration with their national departments of health, national public health agencies, as well as with international organisations such as the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO) and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), to collectively conduct routine surveillance, conduct public health research and respond timely to disease outbreaks.

In response to this capacity need, EDCTP and Africa CDC partnered in a €7.5 million initiative to support institutions in Africa and Europe to support the training of 151 highly skilled epidemiologists and biostatisticians in sub-Saharan Africa over a period of three years. The training will be led by ten consortia comprised of institutions from Africa and Europe. When completed, the programme is expected to boost Africa’s capacity to collectively conduct public health research and effectively respond to disease emergencies across the continent.

To date, 151 fellows from 32 sub-Saharan African countries have been recruited.

“This funding of the training of 151 epidemiologists and biostatisticians with a balanced regional distribution represents a very important milestone in the partnership between EDCTP and Africa CDC. We hope this tangible outcome will help reduce the severe shortage of expertise in these important fields”

Dr Michael Makanga, EDCTP Executive Director

“To strengthen healthcare systems in Africa, we must pay attention to our healthcare workforce and find ways to strengthen their capacity. A highly skilled workforce that can implement multi-disease surveillance and effectively respond to disease outbreaks is necessary for our collective health security in the continent, and this is what this programme is about”

Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC

About Africa CDC

Africa CDC is a specialised technical institution of the African Union that strengthens the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions as well as partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on data-driven interventions and programmes. For more information, visit the Africa CDC website http://www.africacdc.org/