Financial boost to prevent Zika outbreak

 Zika outbreakMARIA MACHARIA
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – EFFORTS to prevent the recurrence of the Zika virus in Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau have received a major boost from the African Development Bank (AfDB), which has a US $2-million grant.

The money, to be shared equally between the two countries, will finance the implementation of their National Preparedness and Response Plans.

The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO) will implement the grant that is expected to play a catalytic role in strengthening disease surveillance, vector control and tackling issues of environmental sanitation.

AfDB’s support will be complementary to the Bank’s past and ongoing health systems strengthening efforts accompanying and working in coordination with other partners.

“The Ebola and Zika virus disease outbreaks are a wakeup call to all African Governments and partners that we have been underinvesting in public health care systems in Africa,” said President Adesina at a high-level panel debate on “Universal Health Coverage in Africa” at the recent Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Nairobi.

Zika is primarily spread by the female Aedes aegypti mosquito but can be transmitted through intercourse, pregnancy and blood transfusion.

To provide a lasting solution to deal with the increasing incidence of disease outbreaks on the continent, the bank will significantly expand its investments in public health infrastructure, including supporting countries to expand provision of water and sanitation.

The bank will fast-track processing of the regional Africa Center for Disease Control (ACDC) to be jointly financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank and World Health Organization and established under the leadership of the Africa Union Commission.

ACDC will enable African countries, individually and collectively, to efficiently monitor, prevent, control and respond in a timely way to epidemics threats. – CAJ News

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