Disease Prevention and Control Unit
The disease prevention and control unit is addressing the following key strategic interventions:
- Establishing EAC regional information exchange system for communicable and non-communicable diseases;
- Establishing a supranational regional reference public health laboratory and strengthening national public health laboratories;
- Strengthening promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services for non-communicable diseases; and
- Strengthening the capacity of EAC Partner States to diagnose and treat communicable and non-communicable diseases.
In line with the interventions listed above, the Disease Prevention and control unit is currently, implementing two projects. These are:
The East African Public Health Laboratory Networking Project (EAPHLNP)
The EAPHLNP is a World Bank-funded project that is being implemented by the EAC Partner States in collaboration with the East African Community Secretariat, the East Central and Southern Africa Health Community, the US Centres for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization. The objective of the project is “to establish a network of efficient, high quality, accessible public health laboratories for the diagnosis and surveillance of Tuberculosis and other communicable diseases”.
The project supports 25 satellite laboratories in East Africa. The laboratories have been selected by the EAC Partner States based on their proximity to or location in border areas which are known to have large numbers of vulnerable populations, including migrants and / or refugees; high risk of disease outbreaks; and, are predominant with indigenous populations. The EAPHLNP aims to achieve the following:
- Enhanced access to diagnostic services for vulnerable groups to contain the spread of diseases in the border areas;
- Improved capacity to provide specialised diagnostic services and conducting drug resistance monitoring at regional level;
- Improved capacity for disease surveillance and emergency preparedness efforts through the availability of timely laboratory data to provide early warning of public health events; and
- Establishing a platform for conducting training and research.
The East African Integrated Disease Surveillance Network (EAIDSNet)
The EAIDSNet is a regional collaborative initiative of the national ministries of the EAC Partner States responsible for human and animal health, in collaboration with the national health research and academic institutions. With implementation support by the Rockefeller Foundation, the main objectives of the initiative are:
- Enhance and strengthen cross-country and cross-institutional collaboration through regional coordination of activities for the prevention and control of both human and animal (zoonotic) diseases under the “One Health” Initiative;
- Promote exchange and dissemination of appropriate information on Integrated Disease Surveillance and other disease control activities;
- Harmonise integrated disease surveillance systems in the region;
- Strengthen capacity for implementing integrated disease surveillance and control activities; and
- Ensure continuous exchange of expertise and best practices for integrated disease surveillance and control.
Support to Pandemic Preparedness in the EAC Region
The EAC Secretariat and the EAC Partner States have declared the fight against infectious diseases a health priority for the region. The “Support to Pandemic Preparedness in the EAC Region” project, being implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Government, assists the EAC Secretariat to improve the regional preparedness and response capacity. It contributes to putting the East African Community regional contingency plan into practice and to implementing the regional risk and crisis communication strategy.
The project also advises the Secretariat on the sustainable integration of ‘One Health’. This approach involves professional disciplines and sectors of society that play an important role in preventing and responding to outbreaks of infectious diseases and in mitigating its impact.
The project offers technical expertise and builds capacity with the overall aim of strengthening EAC in its coordinating and advisory role for the Partner States in pandemic preparedness. It is practice-oriented and pursues a participative approach. The project contributes to a uniform, effective, responsible and balanced approach to pandemic preparedness at the regional and national government level