Roundtable Meeting -Emerging Infectious Diseases in Africa


On 7 August 2008, the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) held a roundtable meeting in Washington, DC, on "Emerging Infectious Diseases in Africa: What can the conservation sector do to prepare?"  The objectives were to:

  • Learn about emerging infectious diseases threats in Africa and the human-livestock-wildlife health interface;
  • Talk about direct and indirect impacts of emerging infectious diseases on conservation efforts, organizations and partners;
  • Hear what conservation organizations and partners are currently doing on emerging infectious diseases; and
  • Discuss what the conservation community can do to prepare for and prevent potential future epidemics.


Several important points raised during the meeting included:
  • Many of the factors that frame emerging infectious disease events, and their resultant impacts on biodiversity conservation, are driven by economics, and that poverty alleviation and sustainable livelihoods opportunities are critical components of disease mitigation strategies.
  • Several key obstacles in Africa at the national level that have hindered effective early disease warning systems and control programs are:  
  1. lack of capacity and poor resource availability;
  2. historically low prioritization of emerging infectious diseases in the face of high HIV, malaria and tuberculosis rates; and
  3. lack of government transparency with respect to sharing information on emerging infectious disease events in the hopes of safeguarding national economic interests over global public health.
  • Addressing emerging infectious disease threats from a “costs of prevention” vs. “costs of inaction” standpoint—and documenting the economic impacts of specific disease entities—may be an effective strategy for encouraging government action.
  • It will be important to investigate more completely the emerging infectious disease implications that will arise from conservation initiatives such as fence and boundary removal in southern Africa.
  • In order to raise greater awareness of the issues to policymakers, a white paper highlighting the conservation threats from emerging infectious disease and zoonoses could be issued jointly by the conservation community with a policy institute.                                                                                                                                                
Acknowledgement:  ABCG would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Biodiversity Analysis and Technical Support (BATS) for USAID/Africa program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Bureau for Africa, Office of Sustainable Development (AFR/SD) for sponsoring our efforts on emerging infectious diseases and conservation.
This meeting built upon other ABCG efforts on disease and conservation including work on:

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Date de créationLundi, Août 17, 2009 2:41 PM
Date de modificationLundi, Août 17, 2009 3:05 PM

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