Russia’s President Putin addresses Kampala Conference on New Epidemics

Russia’s President Putin addresses Kampala Conference on New Epidemics

Russia stands committed to an active partnership in healthcare with African nations, which are particularly vulnerable to the risk of new deadly disease outbreaks, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Putin made the pledge in a welcome message to participants at the first Russian-African International Conference on Combating Infectious Diseases, which is taking place in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, from April 17 to 19.

“Our program of assistance to African countries in sanitary and epidemiological well-being launched in 2023 provides for the delivery of ten mobile high-containment biological laboratories, training of over 350 African specialists, and conducting a series of joint scientific research,” the Russian leader said.

“The risk of new epidemic outbreaks or the spread of the already known dangerous diseases remains very high,” said Putin, adding, “The African continent is particularly vulnerable to these challenges and needs accelerated build-up of medical, scientific, and technological capabilities to protect the population against various infections.”

The event’s primary focus is strengthening healthcare infrastructure and combating infectious diseases.

The conference, which brings together experts and stakeholders from both Africa and Russia, also seeks to facilitate knowledge exchange and strategic partnerships to enhance infection control practices and healthcare systems in African countries.

Participants in the conference are representatives of relevant government departments and services, medical professionals, epidemiologists, and microbiologists from 20 countries.

Putin said the participants will “certainly have an opportunity to exchange professional insights and their experience in preventing and combating outbreaks of infectious diseases,” adding, “I believe that this joint work will yield tangible results and serve to protect the health of Africa’s population.”

Vulnerability 

Uganda has faced several outbreaks every year including; Malaria, Measles, Cholera, Ebola Virus Disease, Marburg Virus Disease, Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever, Yellow Fever, and Rift Valley Fever among others.

Uganda is vulnerable and prone to epidemics due to increased human interaction with forests, caves, and animals due to economic and other activities; geographic location in filo virus, meningitis, and yellow fever zones; effects of climate change – heavy rains and flooding; conflicts and population displacement in the Great Lakes region and increased international movement of people particularly refugees across Uganda’s borders.

Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, Dr Atwine conducting Oral Cholera Vaccination in Kotido in 2020
Through initiatives like the supply of test kits, establishment of joint research centres, and training programs for healthcare professionals, Russia has played a vital role in assisting African nations in combating infectious diseases.

“For its part, Russia is ready for most active cooperation in this crucial healthcare area,” said Putin.

“Our programme of assistance to the African countries in sanitary and epidemiological well-being launched in 2023 provides for the delivery of 10 mobile high-containment biological laboratories, training of over 350 African specialists, and conducting a series of joint scientific research.”

The African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the WHO regional office for African countries are expected to join the specialists to discuss the most recent advances in the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases, as well as modern threats to biological safety.

“I believe that this joint work will yield tangible results and serve to protect the health of Africa’s population,” Putin stated.

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