The U.S. and the African Union on Monday signed an agreement to create the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission, signed a memo of cooperation.

The document formalised the collaboration between the African Union Commission and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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“The West African Ebola epidemic reaffirmed the need for a public health institute to support African ministries of health and other health agencies.

“This is in their efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to any disease outbreak,” CDC director Dr Thomas Frieden said in a statement.

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The African CDC is slated to be inaugurated later in 2015 with the opening of a surveillance and response unit.

The statement said that the unit will provide technical expertise and help coordinate response to health emergencies.

It said that as part of the agreement, the U.S. CDC will send two public health experts to serve as long-term technical advisers to the African CDC.

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According to the statement, the U.S. will also support fellowships for 10 African epidemiologists to help staff five regional African CDC coordinating centers.

The centres are being established to help monitor disease activity on the continent.

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