COVID-19 cases in Africa near 4M, according to Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia 

The African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday announced a euro 5 million ($6 million) initiative funded by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) to train 150 highly skilled epidemiologists and biostatisticians.

The new training program would be offered in sub-Saharan Africa over a period of three years, the Africa CDC said in a statement.

“The training is expected to start by October 2021 and end by 2024 and will be led by 10 consortiums comprising institutions from Africa and Europe,” it said, adding the initiative was meant to boost the capacity of National Public Health Institutes, Ministries of Health and other health institutions in Africa to collectively conduct public health research and effectively respond to disease emergencies across the continent.

“This funding of the training of 150 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,” the statement quoted Michael Makanga, Executive Director of EDCTP, as saying.

“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,” it said.

“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 program is about,” it quoted John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC, as saying.

Meanwhile, in an update on Thursday, the Africa CDC said that nearly 4 million cases of the novel coronavirus have so far been recorded in the continent since February last year.

At least 104,672 people have died in the continent due to complications related to the virus, while 3,501,772 patients have recuperated.

Southern Africa remained the worst affected region with 1.8 million cases while North Africa recorded 1.2 million cases, East Africa 411,400, West Africa 393,900 and Central Africa 105,400.

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