Regional health agency launched in Kigali

Patients undergo treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital. Photo/FILE

An agency aimed at facilitating and improving regional health sectors in east Africa was launched in Kigali, Rwanda on Thursday with a call on governments to partner for the benefit of the community.

The East African Health Platform (EAHP) is also geared towards institutional development and harmonisation of policies and legislation aligned to the health undertakings in the region.

It will be driven by private sector and civil society health and pharmaceutical experts from the Partner States.

While launching the platform, the Deputy Secretary General of East African Community for Productive and Social Sectors, Jessica Eriyo said the initiative would help enhance health services in the region.

“We need healthy and productive population which enjoys quality and affordable healthcare within the region. It’s not only in harmony with the East African Community health strategy but also strategically aligns to the current east Africa development strategy,” she said.

She stressed the need for collaboration between governments and private sectors to support the initiative so as to address experts and financials challenges in the health sector.

Ms Eriyo called for more health awareness and sensitisation campaigns to the grassroots level since 70 per cent of diseases that affect citizens are preventable.

Most of the diseases are communication and non communicable.

With the new scheme regional health experts will be able to identify all the challenges and loopholes and then get a common approach on how to improve the well-being of the locals.

Dr Amit Thakker, the chairman of the platform also observed that many people were still suffering from preventable diseases.

“We wanted to launch it first and then we look at the next way of addressing all the challenges affecting the sector by sharing information and working together in the sector,” Dr Thakker said.

He said it was disgraceful to realise that 24 per cent of global diseases still exist in Sub-Saharan Africa, of which east Africa is part of it.

He faulted regional governments for failing to adhere to the Abuja declaration of injecting 15 per cent of national budget in health sector.

“Every two hours in east Africa, a mother dies because of complications while giving birth and every 20 minutes still in the region a baby dies these are issues we need to address,” Dr Thakker said.