The hot mid-December sun had no impact on the highly motivated Chinese and African engineers working against the clock to construct the Africa CDC Headquarters.
While the long-awaited state-of-the-art facility takes shape and nears completion, the project’s fast progress has earned acclaim. It is also igniting expectations of transforming African public health.
The project’s construction is fulfilling expectations in terms of efficiency, high standards of construction, safety assurances, and experience-sharing mechanisms. This is according to Bethlehem Molla, the project’s safety officer. He has been on the job for more than a year and a half.
Chinese engineer Bao Dongdong claimed that his time spent here will be an excellent life experience. He expressed pride in seeing the project site transform from a wasteland to multiple buildings.
How the completion of the Africa CDC Headquarters project will impact the AU
According to Monique Nsanzabaganwa, the deputy chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, once the project is complete, the AU’s specialized healthcare agency would be equipped to execute its functions of coordination, mobilization, and emergency management in healthcare.
Nsanzabaganwa asserts that China’s ongoing efforts to promote the institutional strengthening of the Africa CDC have included the China-aided Africa CDC headquarters project.
Teruneh Zenna, a former ambassador of Ethiopia to the UN, said that Africa lacks the medical infrastructure necessary to deal with disease outbreaks like AIDS and Ebola. According to Senna, the diseases have claimed countless lives on the continent. He stated that it is commendable to have such a facility on African soil.
Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, a professor of public policy at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, recently said that the continent’s health sector is facing major problems. This is due to growing gaps in how it is addressing various healthcare issues.
About the Africa CDC headquarters building
The new Africa CDC headquarters building will be built in a Village, south of Addis Ababa, on a site that covers an area of approximately 90,000m2 with a total construction area of nearly 40,000m2.
Upon completion, the structure will comprise of fully furnished emergency operation center, a data center, a laboratory, a resource center, briefing rooms, a training center, a conference center, offices, and expatriate apartments all of which will be built, furnished, and equipped by the Government of China.
Construction of Africa CDC headquarters in Ethiopia to begin ahead of schedule
The proposed construction of the new Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is supposedly expected to begin this year ahead of schedule.
This was proposed by Xi Jinping, the president of the People’s Republic of China during the recent China-Africa summit. He said that the decision was reached with the aim to help the African continent compact the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The new Africa CDC will play a major role in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic across Africa and China will continue to do whatever it can to support Africa’s response to the virus,” affirmed President Jinping.
The Implementation Agreement for the Africa CDC HQs building project was signed in July this year by the AU Commission and the Ministry of Commerce of the People`s Republic of China on behalf of the government. The latter pledged to tirelessly work hand in hand with Africa to fully deliver the health care initiative which was adopted at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit.
The Chinese government led by president Xi Jinping also promised to speed up the construction of China-Africa Friendship Hospitals and the cooperation between paired-up Chinese and African hospitals saying, “Together, we will build a China-Africa community of health for all.”
Ethiopia: Construction of Africa CDC Headquarters building begins
The construction of the Africa CDC Headquarters building, or other the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Headquarters building, has officially begun following a groundbreaking and unveiling ceremony.
Speaking during the ceremony, Her Excellency Amira Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil, the Au’s Commissioner for Social Affairs thanked the Government of China for offering to construct the building and for their continuous support to the AU.
She also assured that the construction of the other Africa CDC five Regional Collaborating Centres in Egypt, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia, for the Northern Africa, Central Africa, Eastern Africa, Western Africa, and Southern Africa regions, respectively will commence in the near future.
Construction of the Africa CDC Headquarters building, in Ethiopia moving on swiftly
The construction works of the proposed Africa CDC Headquarters building, otherwise known as the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Headquarters building, which began in December last year is moving on swiftly according to Fantahun Hailemichael, the coordinator of the project from the African Union (AU).
Hailemichael said that most of the technical groundwork at the site has already been completed and that the contractor is currently working on the foundation of the building. “The foundation works,” the project coordinator said, “are expected to be done soon taking the project off the ground, therefore.”
Aim for the project
According to Hailemichael, the project is expected to improve the public health service in the African continent, in terms of boosting Africa’s capabilities in controlling and managing infectious diseases.
“African countries and the continent at large do not have adequate capacity to deal with infectious diseases, which has been evident with the arrival of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that wreaked havoc on a global level.
That is why the government of China came in as a good friend to support Africa to tackle the virus and any other diseases of that kind. The project will help African governments to protect their own citizens and to make necessary investigations, find necessary medications and vaccinations and provide the necessary medical care,” he explained.