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(L-R) EAC Deputy Secretary General, Hon Bazivamo, Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, United Republic of Tanzania Hon Ummy Ali Mwalimu, Adan Abdulla Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary for East African Community & Regional Development –Kenya displaying EAC Contingency Plan 2018-2023

Cross Border Filed Simulation Exercise kicks off at Namanga

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania 11th June, 2019: The Field Simulation Exercise (FSX) organized by the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the World Health Organization(WHO)  through the “Support to Pandemic  Preparedness in the EAC Region” (PanPrep) has started at  Namanga border between the Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania.

The main objective of the  four-day exercise is to assess coordination mechanisms, command and control systems and information sharing channels between multiple sectors and countries; (e.g. activation of the EAC emergency structure, incident management systems and relevant emergency operations centre.

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Addressing the challenge of cross border disease outbreaks using the ‘One Health’ Approach

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, 21st May, 2019: The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat will convene a cross border field simulation exercise (FSX) at the Namanga border between the Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania from 11th to 14th June 2019 as directed by the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health in 2015. The FSX aims to enhance the status of preparedness for and response to infectious disease outbreaks in the EAC, thereby making the region safe for the people and businesses in the region. While the majority of the estimated 250 participants will come from the two Partner States, stakeholders from the Republics of Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda and representatives from regional, supra-regional and international institutions and organisations will also participate. Not all the participants will be at Namanga, but work from their usual work places in Dar Es Salaam and Dodoma, Arusha and Nairobi, Longido, Kajiado and in the border area. Only the EAC Secretariat will have its operations centre at the One Stop Border Post (OSBP).

Seventy-five percent of infectious diseases are transmitted between animals and humans. Outbreaks affect agriculture, trade and tourism and the lives and livelihoods of the people. Involving these sectors in prevention, response and mitigation reflects what is called the “One Health” disease management approach. The EAC region has experienced cases of Ebola, Rift Valley, Marburg and Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic fevers, Cholera, Polio and Plague among others. The current Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has so far caused over 1,600 human cases and more than 1,000 deaths, remains a major threat to the health and socio-economic wellbeing of the people of East Africa. Therefore, the region needs to be prepared and the ongoing efforts to operationalize national and regional contingency plans need to be strengthened. In this regard, the planned cross-border Field Simulation Exercise aims to strengthen the capacities of all people involved in preventing and responding to infectious disease outbreaks across different professions and sectors of society.

An FSX is an interactive instrument to evaluate the status of preparedness for and response to disease outbreaks of organisations or other entities in the EAC region. It simulates a situation under real conditions which could occur at any time. The FSX allows participants to identify strengths and weaknesses and can facilitate practical corrective actions at all levels. It will be used to assess coordination and collaboration mechanisms, emergency response deployment, logistics and administrative processes, risk and crisis communication as well as emergency management and leadership. Findings from the FSX will be used to further improve preparedness and response capacities in the EAC region and beyond.

The scenario of the exercise will mimic a cross border disease outbreak, aggravated by environmental factors and with impact on humans and animals, agriculture, trade and tourism, and the economy as a whole. Early warning, infections and deaths in animals and human beings will prompt the reporting and activation of national and regional preparedness and response mechanisms emphasising the importance of the One Health approach and of appropriate risk and crisis communication as well as cross border collaboration.

Based on the recent need to prepare EAC Partner States for Ebola due to the current outbreak in DRC, the fictitious component will feature a virus that will mutate into a pathogen that can be transmitted between humans causing severe fever and bleeding resulting in increased numbers of cases and deaths. This will help in assessing and building EAC Secretariat’s and Partner States’ capacities to prepare and respond to an Ebola-like situation.

With this press release, the EAC Secretariat informs the public and especially the communities in the border area about the exercise. Around Namanga, selected health facilities, slaughter houses and farms on both sides of the border, military and police, the media and last but not least the public will participate in the FSX. The main focus will be on the One Stop Border Post as the main crossing point for people and goods between the two countries.

Preparations for the Field Simulation Exercise are already ongoing and will be in full swing between 8th and 11th June 2019, ahead of the expected start of the FSX on 11th June 2019.

The exercise is planned and organized in a way that ensures minimal disruption of normal activities traffic at the OSPB and other simulation sites. All sites will be well marked and passengers will be informed about the exercise so that passers-by will know what is going on, when they see the military, ambulances and people in protective gear and can thus behave accordingly and contribute to the success of the exercise.

The cross-border field simulation exercise is supported by the “Support to Pandemic Preparedness in the EAC Region” project, which the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implements on behalf of the German Government and the EAC. The World Health Organization is providing technical support throughout the planning and implementation of FSX in line with its mandate of implementing the International Health Regulations globally.

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For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

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RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 7TH EAST AFRICAN HEALTH AND SCIENTIFIC
CONFERENCE
29 MARCH 2019

 
Based on the Keynotes Speech, Parallel Sessions and Symposia Presentations, the conference recommends that EAC should:

  1.  Expedite development and application of innovative approaches (such as the cross boarder health unit model) to cross boarder health, disease outbreak, preparedness and response in boarder areas while adding values to the national health system.

  2. Promote establishment of national bio banks and data repositories among the Partner States and develop a regional policy for guiding the use and security of the repositories.

  3. Urge the Partner States to participate in development, evaluation and formalization of emerging technologies intended for promoting digital health. 

  4.  Harmonisethe regional IP policy to guide development and uptake of digital health technologies.

  5. Strengthening platform for digital inclusion where communities have full access to information on surveillance and disease management.

  6. Urge the Partner States to fast track the adoption and implementation of Evidence Based Surveillance  and enhance mechanisms of sharing information and best practice.

  7. Enhance coordination and collaboration between East African countries and international Institutions involved in diseases control including African CDC.

  8.   Urge the Partner States to promote the involvement of frontline healthcare workers in the design of digital health tools to ensure readiness, for easy adoption, decreasing cost, and increased sustainability. 

  9. Develop and adopt innovative Regional PPP policies and models specific to digital health Technologies.

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18th Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health concludes in Dar es Salaam

East African Community Secretariat, 28th March, 2019: The 18th Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Sectoral Council on Health concluded at Serena Hotel in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania.

The meeting reviewed progress made in implementing the previous decisions and directives of the Council and Sectoral Council and also considered other issues of importance in the area of health in the region.

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Tanzanian Vice President calls for Digital Health investment in the EAC

As Digital REACH initiative Strategic Plan 2019-2018, East African Web Portal for Health Information and Young East African Research Scientists (YEARS) forum launched

East African Health Research Commission, 27th March 2019, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: The Vice-President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E, Samia Hassan Suluhu, has called on East African Community Partner States to invest in Digital Health Technology if the region is to fully implement the Sustainable Development Goals and address all aspects of poverty.

“Investing in Health Sector and relevant digital technologies is key for our development that we need to pursue more aggressively as a region,” said Hon. Suluhu.

The Vice-President was speaking during the official opening ceremony of the 7th East African Health and Scientific Conference (EAHSC), which is taking place at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

She said Science and technology is an important and vital tool in addressing fundamental gaps in the health sector.

“I wish to commend the organizers for the timely and relevant selection of the theme. Technology for health systems transformation and attainment of the UN-Sustainable Development Goals. This theme comes at an opportune moment as the world is in its fourth industrial revolution where science and technology is taking the lead in all aspects,” added the Vice President.

The Vice president informed the conference that the approval of the Digital Regional East African Community Health (Digital REACH) 10 years strategic plan by the Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health held in Kigali on 26th October, 2018 was an important step towards achieving transformation in the sector.

“I expect that Digital REACH will support the development and implementation of regional health programmes, within existing EAC Regional policies and legal frameworks as provided by the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community and as desired by each of the EAC Partner States,” said.

H.E. Hassan told the participants at the conference that Digital health has been proven as one of the enablers of Sustainable Development Goals in developed countries and a lot of pilot projects all over the world are confirming the same to be the case in low- and middle-income country settings.

‘’I therefore encourage Partner States to support the new development in EAC Partner States and call upon the region to work together through Digital Health Technology and reiterate the commitment of the United Republic of Tanzania to take advantage of Digital Health technology to improve implementation of health sector interventions, with the aim of accelerating attainment of the Universal Health Coverage and SDGs.’’

On his part, the Chairperson of the Sectoral Council on Health and Ministers of State of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi, said the digital age was transforming the entire health sector and how healthcare was delivered.

“In fact Digital Health solutions can increase access to health services, deliver training for health professionals, provide better diagnostics and health information,” said Dr. Ndimubanzi, who is also Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of Public Health and Primary Healthcare.

Dr. Ndimubanzi told the conference that ICT and digital health solutions offered the prospect of bringing into reach universal health coverage and the prospect of making health and well-being for all a reality by 2030.

“I am glad to note that the 19th Ordinary Summit of Heads of EAC Partner States held in Kampala in February 2018, committed to invest in Digital Health Technology, as one of the health sector investment priorities for the region for the next 10 years; for better research for health, health services delivery and health outcome,” said Dr. Ndibumanzi.

The Chair the Sectoral Council call upon the region to put in place strategic policies and practical interventions that can help the EAC Region to boost the uptake of digital health technology.

Representing the EAC Secretary General, Amb Liberat Mfumukeko, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Eng. Steven Mlote, said Conference contributes towards strengthening regional cooperation in health in line with Article 118 of the Treaty that established the EAC as well as relevant provisions of the EAC Common Market Protocol which provides a platform or knowledge sharing among health professional in the EAC region.

He urged the EAC Partner States to align their Digital Health strategies and activities with Digital REACH Initiative and to support initiative that complements the national initiatives.

Eng. Mlote said that the conference is expected to come up with the relevant and realistic recommendations for the improvement of health care and delivery through application of technologies for the improvement of the health and the well being of citizens of the Community will be made.

During the official opening, the Vice-President also launched the Digital REACH initiative Strategic Plan 2019-2018, East African Web Portal for Health Information and Young East African Research Scientists (YEARS) forum.

The East African Health and Scientific Conference is biennial and organized on rotational basis within the EAC Partner States.EAC Technical Working Group Meeting on Pilot Testing of Harmonized Pesticides Guidelines fro Efficacy Trials

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

 


East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
Arusha
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org