The United States Government and African Union have signed a memorandum of understanding in which the US has pledged to support with experts and equipment the establishment of Africa’s Center for Disease Control (CDC).

At a recent signing ceremony held between US Secretary of State John Kerry and African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in Washington, D.C., Kerry said the establishment of a CDC in Africa should not be predicated upon Ebola, but should cope with health threats of every kind and enable countries throughout the region to share information and build their capacities to prevent, detect, and treat outbreaks of epidemic diseases.

“Under the new memorandum,” said Kerry, “Our CDC will provide expert technical help to support surveillance and response units and an emergency operations center as well as provide fellowships for African epidemiologists who will provide their services to the new center in Addis Ababa.”

Recalling the presence of Ebola in West Africa and other parts of the world, Mr. Kerry indicated that the disease is not withering away by accident but due to the assistance the United States and other international partners provided to affected countries that overcame the epidemic.

“Early on, the African Union deployed medical personnel and helped to coordinate a very effective response. President Obama dispatched 3,000 American troops to build treatment centers and assist in training health workers. And all told, my government contributed more than $1 billion to ease the crisis, and today we continue working closely with all the parties. And I’m pleased that in a few minutes we’re going to sign the Memorandum of Cooperation in support of the AU’s very bold plan to establish an African version of the American Centers for Disease Control,” he noted.

He stressed that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa which extended in part to other countries, including the United States is a test, cautioning people to be vigilant to prevent another outbreak as the worst is falling behind.

For her part, AU Commission Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the AU’s decision to form an African Centre for Disease Control is aimed at strengthening the capacities of the African countries to combat diseases, sharing information, build collective capacities not only against Ebola, but also HIV, TB, malaria, and many other diseases.

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