African Partner Outbreak Response Alliance (APORA)
June 18, 2018
Good Morning! I first would like to thank our colleagues and friends representing Cameroon, including Monsieur le Secrétaire Général du Ministère de la Défense, for their gracious support in hosting this event.
Additionally, I would like to welcome General Nzenze (ZEN-zee) and thank him for his leadership and guidance as the Alliance president.
I would also like to offer a welcome and thank you to our visiting United States’ medical representatives: Colonel Murphy, United States Africa Command’s Deputy Command Surgeon, and Captain Montgomery, Director of the Global Disease Detection Branch of the Centers for Disease Control.
Let me extend a sincere welcome to all general officers, senior civilian leaders, and to the delegates from all of our partner nations in attendance. Thank you all for traveling long distances from your home countries and for taking your valuable time to be a part of this event! I am very pleased to see that more than 59 representatives from 20 countries are present today. I welcome those nations attending this alliance conference for the first time, including Algeria, Angola, and Morocco.
This week I encourage each of you to take the opportunity to build personal and professional relationships with each other, as we all recognize that together we are stronger than any one of us are alone.
During this conference, you will collaborate and align best practices to improve response capabilities for outbreaks of contagious diseases. By improving interoperability, you will be able to more effectively respond to outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases.
In many nations, the Armed Forces play a critical role for outbreak response. Militaries provide additional manpower that can mobilize rapidly due to their vast network of bases and facilities. Militaries have developed response capabilities and are adept at deploying these capabilities to austere regions. As civilian and military organizations work together, resources can be shared for a more effective response.
In the field of healthcare, we share many common interests. For everyone in this forum today, the spirit of humanity and compassion for all, regardless of one’s life circumstance, sits foremost in our minds. We join together in this common purpose – to develop an effective and powerful response against future contagious disease outbreaks, which know no borders. This shared compassion to alleviate human suffering sits at the heart of this forum.
I believe that reaching this outcome requires a clear, shared, strategic vision and the multinational cooperation needed to achieve this vision. This conference should serve to continue developing the African Partner Outbreak Response Alliance’s strategic vision while also enhancing cooperative efforts among all nations.
Militaries, by virtue of their nationwide scope, heavy lift capability, and critical missions, have a vested interest in managing and responding to infectious disease outbreaks. Before this year’s conference, the alliance focused principally upon the military-medical response, but this year’s event includes civilian ministries of health and civilian health agencies. This is a big step forward toward comprehensive cooperation and response to disease outbreaks, and will go a long way towards forging lasting partnerships.
The Alliance has been designed to share and align best practices among partner nations in order to contain emerging infectious diseases. This alliance will promote effective military-civilian partnerships in the health and security communities as African partners seek to improve their capacity to provide humanitarian assistance on their continent.
This gathering also promotes regional security as we all concentrate our efforts on contributing to the development of capable and professional militaries that respect human rights, adhere to the rule of law, and more effectively contribute to stability in Africa.
I have no doubt that together, we will find the best solutions to advance effective contagious disease responses throughout the African continent.
Remarks by Ambassador Peter Henry Barlerin