At the just-concluded 2023 Ibrahim Governance Weekend in Nairobi, scientists recommended that Sub-Saharan African nations increase surveillance and invest in new vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics to combat the escalating threat of infectious diseases.
Tom Kariuki, the executive director of the Science for Africa Foundation, a lobbying organization based in Nairobi that promotes science and innovation, emphasized the significance of improved preparedness in preventing disruptions to public health systems during disease outbreaks.
Africa, according to Kariuki, is struggling with a growing burden of infectious diseases caused by climate change, ecosystem disruptions, and pollution.
He stated that the solution lies in expanding public education and local production of vaccines and antibiotics.
Kariuki added that governments should adequately fund research on novel vaccines and medicines to combat malaria, HIV and Aids, tuberculosis, and other emergent diseases such as the Marburg virus and avian flu.
Antimicrobial resistance has undermined efforts to control vector-borne diseases in Africa, according to Kariuki, who emphasized the need for partnerships between academia and industry to resolve the crisis.
James Kimotho, director of the Innovation and Technology Transfer Division at the Kenya Medical Research Institute, urged African governments to establish policies to facilitate clinical trials for the treatment and management of infectious diseases.
To revitalize the fight against communicable diseases, Kimotho emphasized the importance of domestic scientific research and training.
uwaida Bulhan, team lead at Roche pharmaceutical, stated that the Covid-19 pandemic served as a wake-up call for African nations to reinforce disease surveillance and create adequate stockpiles of essential health commodities such as medications and protective equipment.