Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Pathogen Genome Initiative (PGI) Vaccine Preventable Diseases Focus Group (VPD FG) Meeting

The members of the Africa CDC PGI VPD FG physically met in Nairobi for a five-day intense meeting from 21-26 November 2022 to consolidate a roadmap policy document for implementing VPD genomic surveillance in Africa. The VPD FG, chaired by Prof. Martin Nyaga, was tasked by the Africa CDC PGI to provide technical guidance and support towards strengthening multi-pathogen sequencing and bioinformatics capacity for emerging and re-emerging diseases and genomic surveillance of VPD of public health importance in Africa. The physical meeting was precluded by four initial virtual monthly meetings that involved broad consultations and discussions with VPD experts across the African continent. Briefly, the first virtual meeting focused on the topical issues in VPD with the call to action for the urgent need for a more resilient and revived routine immunization. The agenda of the second virtual meeting was on the identification of VPD genomic surveillance priorities exploring standardized protocols, tools, and criteria. The third virtual meeting focused on standardizing sequencing and bioinformatic pipelines to analyse genomic datasets from VPD, External Quality Assurance (EQA), or Proficiency Testing (PT) programs of VPD genomics and resource mobilization plans. The fourth webinar was on sampling, response to the outbreak, disease burden, prevention and control, vaccine policy, and strategy and innovation to promote genomic surveillance for VPD in Africa. The physical meeting involved in-depth discussions and brainstorming sessions whereby the members, working in three main groups, successfully: 1. Mapped the key stakeholders in VPD genomic surveillance. 2. Developed a plan for the laboratory implementation of VPD. 3. Developed a VPD sampling and sequencing strategy. The five-day physical meeting ended with a successfully laid out VPD roadmap and implementation strategy draft document.

Top row left to right: Dr. James Ndirangu, Dr. Peter Mwangi, Prof. Charles Muyanja;
Middle row left to right: Prof. Martin Nyaga, Dr. San James, Dr. Sanni Usman, Dr. Saheed Sabiu
Bottom row left to right: Dr. Francis Chikuse, Dr. Daniel Mugendi, Dr. Tresor Kabeya, Mr. Nyasha Sithole, Dr. Aquillah Kanzi