Our Predict and Prevent initiative is delighted to announce support to a new regional disease surveillance network called the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS). SACIDS is the first regional network to embrace the concept of 'One Health' right from the start by linking 25 human and animal health institutions in Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and South Africa. Over time, it hopes to include other countries from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The SACIDS concept sprang from a Foresight study called 'Infectious Diseases: Preparing for the Future’ involving more than 400 scientists. SACIDS was developed through meetings with key stakeholders over a period of three years. Its mission is to harness innovation in science and technology in order to improve Southern Africa's capacity to detect, identify and monitor infectious diseases of humans, animals and plants. By sharing data, experience, training, and tools, the countries participating in SACIDS can raise the quality of disease surveillance for the entire region.
With rising international travel and trade, outbreaks can go global within hours. Once diseases are detected, responding quickly and across borders saves lives. "Too often, countries work in isolation, ignoring their neighbors, while diseases cross borders daily. We are thrilled that this effort will increase local cooperation and capacity," said Professor Mark Rweyemamu, the Executive Director of SACIDS. SACIDS will be physically headquartered at the Sokoine University of Agriculture, in Morogoro, Tanzania.
Google.org will support the establishment of the SACIDS network through an initial $500,000 grant to the Nuclear Threat Initiative's Global Health and Security Initiative (GHSI). GHSI's Director for Health Security and Epidemiology Dr. Louise Gresham said, "We look forward to applying our expertise in developing regional surveillance networks, a keystone in building capacity to combat emerging, neglected and endemic disease in Southern Africa.” GHSI will share extensive experience working with regional networks in the Middle East (the Middle East Consortium on Infectious Disease Surveillance) and Southeast Asia (the Mekong Basin Disease Surveillance network). In a second phase of the project, Google.org will make an additional contribution of $1,500,000 to African stakeholders working with SACIDS.
To learn more about SACIDS and our other partners in Predict and Prevent, download this updated Google Earth layer which highlights the details of their work.