The Charge d’Affaires’ Speech during
the Closeout Ceremony of the USAID PREDICT Project
Tuesday, Sept 24, 2019
Your Excellency the Minister of Livestock, Fisheries, and Animal Industries;
Coordinator of the Technical Committee of the National Program for the Control of Emerging and Re-emerging Zoonoses;
Representatives of the “One Health” ministerial departments;
Representatives of national and international organizations;
Ladies and gentlemen, dear invitees;
It is a my sincere pleasure to address this gathering today, to celebrate with you the many successes of the PREDICT 2 project, funded by the United States government. This project is just one of the many ways that the United States is partnering every day with Cameroon for a healthy, prosperous, and peaceful future for the people of this country. I would like to thank His Excellency the Minister of Livestock, Fisheries, and Animal Industries for organizing this ceremony despite his busy schedule, so that we could have this opportunity to acknowledge the importance of the work that has been done by the PREDICT project.
We believe that a healthy population is one of the core foundations for building a brighter future, and that is why the United States prioritizes investment in health. The PREDICT project that we are commemorating today has played a key role in the fight against the spread of infectious diseases in Cameroon.
PREDICT, a project of USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats program, began in 2009 to strengthen global capacity in order to detect and discover viruses with pandemic potential that can move between animals and people. The PREDICT project has benefitted from some of the most advanced and prestigious institutions in the American scientific and medical communities. It was implemented by a consortium led by the University of California at Davis that included EcoHealth Alliance, Metabiota Inc., the Smithsonian Institution, and Wildlife Conservation Society, with support from Columbia and Harvard universities. Working with partners in 30 countries, PREDICT has built virus surveillance platforms that identify and monitor zoonotic pathogens or those that can be shared between animals and people.
The project was implemented in Cameroon by Metabiota, Inc, in collaboration with local communities and health actors, five government ministries, the Military Health Research Center, and the National Program for the Control of Emerging and Re-emerging Zoonoses. This truly is a team effort.
This complex integration of many participants, which facilitated the creation of the “One Health” system of collaboration on health security issues, is a testament to their commitment to the goals of the project. In ten years, the PREDICT project has made significant progress in surveillance, reporting, analysis of specimens, risk identification, and multi-sectoral response to infectious disease outbreaks. By expanding partnerships even further – with universities, hospitals, laboratories, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, and international organizations – the project has expanded its impact on health security in Cameroon.
The statistics of the work done are impressive. More than 55,000 diagnostic tests have been conducted since October 2014, 941 behavioral surveys have been launched among people at risk, 111 viruses have been discovered, and 498 people have been trained. The results and risks have been communicated to the “One Health” ministerial departments and beneficiary communities.
Thanks to the PREDICT project, the Military Health Research is now one of the leading national reference laboratories for infectious diseases in Cameroon. This is an excellent example of civil-military collaboration in the fight against infectious diseases.
Your Excellency, the PREDICT project, which concludes its activities today in Cameroon, has improved our understanding of the dynamics of diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans. This knowledge allows us to better anticipate risks and implement prevention, detection, and response measures against infectious diseases.
These results of the U.S.-funded project have been achieved thanks to the constant and multi-sectoral support provided by the Government of Cameroon. This reflects the partnership of our two nations as well as your government’s commitment to the health of people and animals.
We hope that the achievements of the PREDICT project will be used by the Government of Cameroon to further strengthen health security throughout the country, for the flourishing and prosperity of the people of Cameroon.
Thank you for your kind attention,
Long live international cooperation.