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Severe Shortage of Epidemiologists in Africa, says Africa CDC Director

The Director General of the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), Dr Jean Kaseya, has highlighted a severe shortage of epidemiologists in Africa. According to Kaseya, there are only 6,900 field and frontline epidemiologists to serve the estimated 1.4 billion Africans. He noted that Africa records at least two new disease outbreaks per week, with over 100 outbreaks per year, and 75% of these are zoonotic in origin, exacerbated by climate change.

Kaseya stressed the urgent need for more skilled health workers, stating that less than 10% of African countries can respond to a major outbreak with a skilled health workforce. He highlighted the efforts of Africa CDC, including programs like the Africa Volunteers Health Corps and the Field Epidemiology Training Program, aimed at bridging the gap. Additionally, Kaseya emphasized the need to strengthen medical manufacturing capabilities in Africa, advocating for a minimum of 60% of vaccines and medicines used in Africa to be manufactured on the continent by 2040.

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