Post-Ebola Awakening: Urgent Call for Investing in Maintaining Effective Preparedness Capacities at the National and Regional Levels in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Serge Nzietchueng
Dominic Kambarage
Innocent B Rwego
Sayoki G Mfinanga
Anthony Mbonye
David Mutonga
Winyi Kaboyo
Issa Makumbi
Samuel Muriuki
Ndongo Casimir
Stephen Mduma
Charles Makasi
Andrew Y Kitua


Background: The 2014 Ebola outbreak reminded us of the importance of preparedness for addressing health security threats. Learning from this experience, we aim to (1) enhance the understanding of preparedness by policy and decision makers, (2) discuss opportunities for Africa to invest in the prevention of health security threats, (3) highlight the value of investing in preventing health security threats, and (4) propose innovations to enhance investments for the prevention or containment of health security threats at the source.

Methods: We used observations of governments’ attitudes towards investing in preparedness for health security prevention or containment at the source. We conducted a literature review through PubMed, the World Wide Web, and Mendeley using the keywords: "health emergency financing", "investing in health threats prevention", and "stopping outbreaks at the source".

Results: Countries in sub-Saharan Africa invest inadequately towards building and maintaining critical capacities for preventing, detecting, and containing outbreaks at the source. Global health security emergency funding schemes target responses to outbreaks but neglect their prevention. Governments are not absorbing and maintaining adequately capacity built through GHS, World Bank, and development aid projects – a lost opportunity for building and retaining outbreak prevention capacity.

Recommendations: Governments should (1) allocate adequate national budgets for health honouring the Abuja and related commitments; (2) own and maintain capacities developed through International Development Aids, OH networks, research consortia and projects; (3) establish a regional health security threats prevention fund. The global community and scientists should (1) consider broadening existing health emergency funds to finance the prevention and containment outbreaks at the source and (2) Strengthen economic analyses and case studies as incentives for governments’ budget allocations to prevent health security threats.

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