Members of UKHSA’s IHR Strengthening team alongside colleagues from Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) held a planning and development workshop in Ethiopia during October 2022 to support the establishment of the Regional Knowledge Hub (K-Hub).

Africa CDC is mandated to strengthen Africa’s public health institutions’ capacities and capabilities to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks.  Working through the network of its Regional Coordinating Centres (RCCs), one of the priorities for Africa CDC is the management of regional knowledge. To this end, a Regional Knowledge Hub (K-Hub) was conceived as a unique resource to serve as an interactive and useable “one stop shop” for all public health critical information and knowledge on the African Continent. This is more than just a repository with the aim being to create a community of interest supported by a central online platform. The K-Hub will facilitate and enhance regional collaboration and coordination by ensuring availability of key public health resources.

To support the development of the K-Hub, a two-day residential workshop was held at Kiruftu Resort in Debrezeit, Ethiopia on 26th and 27th October 2022.

A total of 20 participants attended the workshop. Participants were drawn from all the directorates of Africa CDC, including the Southern and Eastern RCCs. The workshop was designed to include a range of interactive activities such as World Café, Mentimeter, group discussions, and use of Padlets to ensure maximum participation and engagement of participants.

Dr Justin Maeda from Africa CDC and Dr Lul Reik from the Southern RCC introduced the workshop and explained that the RCCs have evolved over time and the K-Hub is one aspect of the RCCs. Both Dr Maeda and Dr Lul Reik stressed that the key to the Regional K-Hub is to complement access to information that can be used to inform decision making. The RCCs will take a role in co-ordinating the Regional K-Hub activities.

“Knowledge is power when used in the right way and used to inform decisions. The Knowledge Hub will promote awareness and learning culture across the member states and public health stakeholders within the continent.”

Dr Justin Maeda

“Without good information we can’t make good public health decisions. The potential impact of the Knowledge Hub is significant for the ambition of Africa CDC”

Dr Lul Reik

Day 1 of the workshop focused on delegates familiarisation with the K-Hub concept and the online platform. Delegates looked at the practical application of the K-Hub online platform and were able to evaluate the platform against key objectives: functionality, utility, and usability. Day 2 focused on identifying and mapping out (i) internal Africa CDC resources to be included in the K-Hub and (ii) identifying stakeholders to engage in the development of the K-Hub concept, including method of engagement.

During the workshop, delegates discussed:

  • Improvement ideas that would strengthen the credibility and validity of the content within the K-Hub
  • Recommended approach to engagement of key stakeholders across the continent to support spread and adoption of the K-Hub
  • Key policies and protocols that would support governance and operationalisation of the K-Hub
  • Importance of prospectively capturing the process undertaken to develop the K-Hub to facilitate sharing of learning.

The outputs from the workshop will inform further development of the K-Hub, before piloting and further evaluation of the K-Hub across the Southern Regional Co-ordination Centre (RCC).

At the end of the workshop the participants agreed that it had been a useful 2 days that generated valuable outputs. Dr Justin Maeda confirmed that the outputs from the workshop would be fed back to Africa CDC management as an Executive Summary containing the high-level outcomes and that the Regional K-Hub work will also feed into the Technical Advisory Committee.

Following the workshop, a roadmap for implementation will be further developed and a pilot of the Regional K-Hub will be undertaken. Further to this additional stakeholder workshops will be organised to inform further development of the Regional K-Hub. The UKHSA is supporting this critical Africa CDC work stream with key personnel through its IHR Strengthening project.