Reducing vulnerabilities of West and Central African communities to pandemic threats through a research and capacity strengthening initiative
Recent outbreaks of the highly infectious and dangerous Ebola virus in West and Central Africa underscore the importance of rapid diagnostics and surveillance infrastructure, evidence-driven health communications and community engagement activities, and an effective and well-coordinated emergency response to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable populations in the face of emerging pandemic threats.
While vaccines and medical therapies have become important tools for the treatment and control of infectious diseases, greater efforts are needed in West and Central Africa to strengthen gaps in the technical and logistical capacities of researchers, surveillance agents, diagnosticians, first-line responders, and public health systems at large to quickly and effectively work with communities to identify, halt, and prevent new pandemics.
The aim of this initiative is to implement an integrated research and capacity-strengthening program tailored for Central and West Africa. This initiative will support research to identify and assess the role of socio-cultural, animal health, and public health interventions to control and prevent emerging pandemic threats in the region. Research findings will help to inform the design and implementation of the capacity strengthening activity that will focus on enhancing and adapting the practices, protocols, and policies of public health actors in conducting surveillance, public health outreach and communications, and outbreak management of emerging pandemic threats.
The research team will collaborate with African public health and research institutes to build their existing expertise in surveillance, research, and public health response and will provide a foundation for greater inter-regional scientific collaboration on pandemic threats that pose significant threats to the health and livelihoods of millions of people in Central and West Africa.