Africa CDC
The African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Logo

Africa CDC Launches West African Disease Surveillance Network To Prepare For Pandemics


In West Africa, the Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has implemented a Regional Integrated Surveillance and Laboratory Network (RISLNET). RISLNET was established by the Africa CDC to integrate all public health laboratories, surveillance, and emergency response assets.

The Africa CDC hopes that RISLNET will be able to enhance the prevention, rapid detection, and response to current and emerging public health threats. Mohammed Abdulaziz, the head of disease control and prevention at Africa CDC, said that the purpose of the project was to safeguard Africa’s health.

During the pre-launch workshop in Abuja, Abdulaziz emphasised the need for an appropriate response to control disease in the region and coordinated laboratory networks to diagnose diseases.

“We need to discuss among ourselves, how do we create a network that would work in a collaborative way to ensure that the next pandemic, will meet us better prepared. In West Africa, we’ve been battling with outbreaks of Lassa fever in different countries of the West African region. And not just Lassa fever, different outbreaks are ongoing. So what that means is, that for us to be prepared for the next pandemic, we should use the opportunity that comes with responding to outbreaks that are already with us… to use it to create a network of people working in this aspects of public health.”

Elsie Ilori, the director of surveillance and epidemiology at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), who represented the ministry of health, said that the RISLNET will provide the region with a network of pre-surveillance activities in laboratories to prepare for future outbreaks.

“In Nigeria, it’s something that we have been looking forward to, it’s something that we have also tried to work on. I know one other weak area is linking the laboratory data with surveillance. That’s one big issue. And so I think that’s one of the things that we are also going to be looking at in this network.”