It is a known fact that in the wake of the Ebola outbreak crisis and the dread of the spreading of the disease, concerted efforts to both contain and eradicate it prompted the African continent to look towards the West for solutions. The crisis experienced along what is now known as the Ebola belt resulted in thousands of deaths. Separating families, causing severe life circumstances and threatening the cultural sensitivity of the continent. It was truly devastating on many levels as it exposed the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of the African continent even more.
It was this critical development that provoked the Pan-African spirit among some scientists and researchers of the continent to come together to establish a Pan-African Consortium on Emerging Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity. The overall aim of addressing any potential future outbreaks risks to the continent. The birth of that idea, an indigenous solution and a Pan-African response, has now become famously known as The Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium (GET). The focus that can be succinctly described as; charting unknown territory to develop safe treatment options for neglected pathogens by engaging top scientists to prepare Africa for health emergencies. This focus involves working with local communities to turn survivors into champions.
The founding of GET by scientists and medical researchers lends credit to the fact that not only are African solutions possible but they are being realised. Especially in the field of emerging infectious diseases where the impact and effect is both harmful and detrimental to both human lives and the general socio-economic health of nations.
The 3rd conference themed: “Pandemic preparedness. Biosecurity and Infrastructure in the wake of the Ebola outbreaks” was hosted by the Noguchi Medical Research of the University of Ghana at Accra Ghana. The conference was held over three days, 16 – 18 August 2017. The general consensus of the speakers alluded to the realities that though the continent is still largely unprepared for an outbreak as experienced by the former Ebola catastrophe, that key preventative steps have been taken and that others are in development to ensure that the continent rises to the occasion of addressing the occurrence of a potential future pandemic.
This is a great achievement for our continent and one we must be extremely proud of. It can be traced to the aspirations of Agenda 2063, our endogenous plan for transformation of Africa. One that sees the harnessing of the continent’s comparative advantages such as its people, history, scholars and experts among others resources to reposition the continent. To effect equitable and people-centred social, economic and technological transformation and the eradication of poverty and diseases.
This is proudly an African solution and we must embrace it with all the Pan-African support in us to continue to make the aims and objectives of the Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium flourish. To continue building the Africa we want. The ultimate aim to ensure that we are as robust as any leading medical consortium in the World.
As the master of ceremonies (MC) for the opening ceremony, my involvement in the conference was one that makes me proudly African. The ceremony was graced by the first lady of the republic of Ghana, Her Excellency, Rebecca Akufo-Addo. Other esteemed experts and prestigious people who attended GT included African specialist medical researchers and scientists. It was an honor to speak about both the YMCA and the African Union and the journey of youth empowerment as a Subject 2 Citizen (S2C) ambassador during my addresses.
S2C Ambassador of YMCA