NTI’s Global Biological Policy and
Programs team (NTI | bio) partnered with the Africa Centres for Disease Control
and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the Africa CDC Southern Africa Regional
Collaborating Centre (RCC) to convene more than 50 experts from the Southern African
region on June 24-26 in Johannesburg.
This was the first technical workshop of Africa CDC’s Initiative to Strengthen Biosecurity and
Biosafety, which was launched at the 2019
Global Biosecurity Dialogue in Addis Ababa.
The workshop sought to develop
strategies for addressing biosecurity and biosafety capacity gaps at both the
national and regional levels. It also aimed to advance steps to fill these gaps,
including through the development of a continent-wide framework for a high-consequence
pathogens and toxin list and related legislation, regulation, and guidance.
Workshop participants, who included key
staff from human health, animal health, academia and defense/security
communities, developed concrete actions to address biosecurity and biosafety challenges
common across all participating Southern African countries. The actions will be
implemented in coordination with the existing efforts such as national action
planning in response to Joint External Evaluation (JEE) scores and global
health security action packages. These include steps to:
- Develop or strengthen biosecurity and biosafety legislation and regulations
- Improve training for biosecurity and biosafety professionals
- Raise awareness among officials and political leaders about emerging biosecurity-related risks
- Develop sustainable, safe, and secure laboratory capacity.
The Southern Africa RCC, with strong
leadership and support from the Africa CDC, committed to track regional
progress toward achievement of the World Health Organization (WHO) JEE biosecurity and biosafety targets by providing
expertise, regional coordination, and the political support required to address
The workshop was held in collaboration
with South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the Zambia
National Public Health Institute, and the University of the Witwatersrand, the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Defense Threat Reduction
Agency, Global Affairs Canada’s Weapons Threat Reduction Program, and the Open
Learn more about the Global Biosecurity
Dialogue Project here.