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Mitigating the escalating threat of infectious diseases outbreaks in tropical Africa: a perspective examination of challenges and strategies for future preparedness


The escalating threat of infectious disease outbreaks in Africa, particularly emerging and re-emerging diseases, necessitates urgent and comprehensive action. The frequency of these outbreaks demands a robust enhancement of notification and reporting systems to enable swift public health interventions. Tropical diseases such as malaria, COVID-19, typhoid fever, yellow fever, arboviruses, cholera, rabies, schistosomiasis, tuberculosis, black fungus, meningitis, evolving pathogens, and antimicrobial resistance pose significant health risks globally, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The region faces complexities in healthcare, including weak systems, inadequate surveillance, socioeconomic disparities, and other issues. Poor health literacy, traditional practices, and distrust hinder effective disease control and contribute to disease emergence in Sub-Saharan Africa. Continuous research and global collaboration are essential to address these public health concerns, especially given Africa's unique challenges. Disease surveillance emerges as a highly effective strategy, crucial in regions vulnerable to infectious diseases. Establishing and strengthening comprehensive surveillance and reporting systems at individual, regional, national, and international levels is crucial due to the unpredictable nature of borderless outbreaks and their significant impact on morbidity, mortality, and economic stability. National surveillance relies heavily on effective control mechanisms within local community areas, necessitating the active involvement of medical personnel. Successful systems depend on functional countries using collected data for timely warnings and localized interventions. Stakeholders, including governments, health authorities, and international organizations, must collaborate urgently to implement and sustain these vital systems, mitigating the devastating consequences of infectious disease outbreaks. Additionally, a holistic approach is crucial, involving prioritized local production of vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics through initiatives like the African Vaccine Producers Initiative. This approach emphasizes the need for domestic pharmaceutical production, intensified public awareness campaigns, and the training of the next generation of global health leaders, ensuring multidimensional strategies, political and diplomatic skills, and evidence-based assessments. Conclusion Collaboration among governments, international organizations, and educational institutions is essential for successful policy advocacy and implementation to strengthen health security and mitigate the continuous rise of infectious diseases on the continent.

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Journal Article
Hassan HK
Adigun OA
Manirambona E
Olaleke NO
Abioye MS
Lucero-Prisno III DE
Atewologun FA
Okesanya OJ