African heads of state and health experts virtually gather for the first international conference on public health in Africa – Africa CDC

Landmark conference to discuss latest COVID-19 research and lessons as world grapples with emergence of Omicron

December 14, 2021 | Addis Ababa Today, the African Union (AU) and the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) opened the first International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA 2021), with over 10,000 participants expected from 140 countries around the world. For three days, from December 14 to 16, 2021, the conference will feature presentations from African heads of state and government, dignitaries and health experts, who will discuss how to accelerate progress against COVID- 19 and chart a new course for public health on the continent.

CPHIA 2021 comes at a critical time for Africa and the world. COVID-19 has strained health systems around the world, and with dangerously limited access to vaccines across Africa, it has exposed deep inequalities in access to health care and scientific innovations . Fewer than 20 African countries have met the global goal of immunizing at least 10% of the adult population by September 30, 2021, while nearly 90% of high-income countries have met this goal. As of December 3, 2021, only 7% of the African population was fully vaccinated, as many countries face an upsurge in new infections and the emergence of the worrying SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron.

“CPHIA 2021 creates the foundation that will allow us to usher in a new era for science, partnership and innovation on the continent,” said Prof Senait Fisseha, CPHIA 2021 Co-Chair and Director of Global Programs at the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. “The hope is that this will become the premier annual gathering on health in Africa – where policymakers, researchers, advocates, community organizations and many more come together to learn, address challenges and chart a course forward. together. There are major health changes coming on the continent, and this is just the start. “

“Africa has some of the most sophisticated research institutions and talented scientists in the world, who are closely monitoring COVID-19 and quickly sharing their knowledge,” said the co-chair and vice-chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity, CPHIA 2021, Professor Agnès Binagwaho. “CPHIA 2021 will provide the platform to both highlight their incredible contributions and enable enhanced collaboration between sectors so that we can better respond to current and future health crises and achieve health equity. “

CPHIA 2021 is a virtual event and is free for all participants. It will include seven scientific plenary sessions and eight parallel sessions, and over 40 side events that focus on the main pillars of the African Union’s new public health order to meet the aspirations of Agenda 2063 – the Africa we are want to :

  • Development and strengthening of African manufacturing of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutic products;
  • Strengthening of public health institutions for person-centered care;
  • Reinforced public health staff;
  • Respectful and action-oriented partnerships; and
  • Engagement with the private sector.

The program will include presentations from South African health experts who have conducted research on the Omicron variant, including Professor Tulio de Oliveira (Director, Center for Outbreak Response and Innovation in South Africa); Teacher. Penny Moore (virologist, University of the Witwatersrand); and Prof. Salim Abdool Karim (Director, Center for the AIDS Research Program in South Africa).

As part of the conference, there will also be 98 oral and poster abstract presentations, showcasing research on the epidemiology of COVID-19 in Africa, the effectiveness of public health measures on the continent and the latest modeling of diseases. Presentations include:

  • Long COVID in South Africa: Persistent Symptoms in Hospital Patients with SARS-CoV-2 (Session 1 Summary Presentations, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. EAT, December 14)
  • Establish an Africa-wide rumor tracking system for COVID-19 (Session 5 summary presentation, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EAT, December 15)
  • A data visualization approach to mitigate the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic (Session 6 summary presentations, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EAT, December 15)

In addition, the CPHIA 2021 is organizing 39 official side events from December 13 to 17, 2021. These include a joint meeting to accelerate global vaccinations against COVID-19 with more than 50 global technical leaders to highlight the immunization bottlenecks and prioritize progress towards immunization targets of 40% in countries. level. A special session on the second day will also highlight recent advances in the development of oral drugs for COVID-19, and highlight the most recent data on these drugs, as well as issues of funding, access models, testing and delivery.

Regional leaders who will participate in CPHIA 2021 include HE President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo of the Democratic Republic of Congo and President of the African Union; HE President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa; HE President Paul Kagame of Rwanda; and Chairperson of the African Union Commission HE Moussa Faki Mahamat. Other speakers are Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director, World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa; Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization; Dr Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa; Ms. Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS; Dr John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa CDC; and the co-chairs of CPHIA 2021, Professors Binagwaho and Fisseha.

“While African leadership in the fight against COVID-19 has been extraordinary, the pandemic has also underscored what we have long known to be true: we urgently need to reinvent the approach to public health in Africa,” said said John Nkengasong, Africa CDC director. . “The first International Conference on Public Health in Africa will be revolutionary. By bringing together the continent’s brightest minds to share new ideas and lessons learned, we will build on this unprecedented momentum and create a new public health order for Africa. We can’t wait any longer.

CPHIA 2021 was organized by a committee of over 70 leading health experts. For more information about the conference or to register, please visit


Media contacts

Nekerwon Gweh
Communication and media engagement, Africa CDC
[email protected]

Dr Chrys P. Kaniki
Media engagement, Africa CDC
[email protected]

Dr Nicaise Ndembi
Chief Scientific Advisor to the Director of Africa CDC
[email protected]

Ouma Onyango
Senior Program Associate
Global health strategies
[email protected]

About Africa CDC
Africa CDC is a specialized technical agency of the African Union that supports member states in their efforts to strengthen health systems and improve surveillance, emergency response, disease prevention and control. Find out more on:

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