NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 27 – The 4th meeting of the East African Community (EAC) Sectoral Council of Health Ministers has directed the EAC Secretariat to conduct a regional cross-border Avian Influenza emergency preparedness and response.
The Health Ministers who were meeting at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre also directed that crisis preparedness and response should be done for all other transboundary human and animal communicable diseases.
The exercise is estimated to cost about Sh18.6 million.
“Partner States should develop a harmonised regional policy for compensating livestock destroyed namely; poultry, cattle, sheep, goats and other domestic animals incase of an outbreak of various zoonotic diseases of epidemic and/or pandemic potential,” a statement from the Directorate of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs in Arusha directed.
The EAC partner States are Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
The Health Ministers further directed that the preparedness and response exercise should be done from May 25 to 29 May in cross border districts between Kenya (Busia and Teso) and Uganda (Busia and Tororo).
It should also be conducted between cross-border regions/provinces of Tanzania (Kagera Region), Burundi (Muyinga Province) and Rwanda (Eastern Province) from October 12 to 16.
“Partner States should adopt a “One Health” approach as a regional policy in the integrated control and prevention of both animal and human transboundary diseases in East Africa,” the Ministers urged.
They directed the EAC Secretariat to sign a “Letter of Agreement” with UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for the disbursement of €200,000 under the EAC Regional Avian Influenza EU-supported project.
The funds would be used in conducting the proposed EAC regional cross-border Avian Influenza and other transboundary human and animal communicable diseases multisectoral Emergency Preparedness and Response Field Simulation Exercises.
The EAC Health Ministers also wrote a letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and World Bank group President Robert Zoëlick, appealing to them that despite the ongoing global financial crisis, Health Care Financing to the East African Community Partner States should not be affected as this would devastatingly impact on the region.