KICK OFF MEETING
The East African Community meeting on orientation and planning on the operationalization of the Regional Network of Public Health Reference Laboratories for Communicable Diseases (RNPHRL) took place at the EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania from 19th – 21st September 2017.
The purpose of the Mobile Laboratories Project meeting was to strengthen capacities in all five EAC Partner States to respond to pathogens of biosafety level 3 and 4 nature and other outbreaks of infectious diseases, prone to cause cross-border epidemics, by rapid diagnostic capacities that enable timely interventions.
The establishment of the Network of Mobile Medical Reference Laboratories has been necessitated by the growing challenge of epidemics and pandemics including viral haemorrhagic fevers (e.g. Ebola) with devastating impacts on health outcomes and the economy amidst limited infrastructure and human resource capacity of the National and Regional Reference Public Health Laboratory since most of the laboratories are at biosafety level 2.
The meeting facilitated among others the sharing of experience among Partner States with regard to the operationalization of National/Central Public Health Reference Laboratories and other key national and international laboratories; orienting the EAC Partner State Experts on the requirements for the operationalization of the East African Community Regional Network of Public Health Reference Laboratories for Communicable Diseases at Partner State and developing a calendar of activities/roadmap for the first year (running from October 2017 to June 2018) of implementation of the project including determination of the date and venue for the launch of the project.
Speaking during the opening session on behalf of the EAC Secretary General, Amb Liberat Mfumukeko, the EAC Secretariat Principal Health Officer, Dr. Stanley Sonoiya highlighted the importance of the EAC Partner State Experts to orient on the requirements for the operationalization of the Regional Network of Public Health Reference Laboratories for Communicable Diseases at the Partner State.
He disclosed to the meeting that the establishment of a high-capacity regional network of reference laboratories was prioritized in the 4th EAC Development Strategy (2011/12-2015/16) and remained a major agenda in the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th Meetings of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health also referred to as the Sectoral Council on Health.
He informed the meeting that the design of the Project has been aligned with the policy guidance and directives of 12th Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health held on 22nd June 2016 as well as the German Development Bank (KfW) Project Appraisal Mission from 8th to 10th December 2015.
On her part, Ms Sanna Stockstrom, Project Manager from KfW said ‘’We are very happy with our relationship and our strong partnership with EAC in the development of the regional bloc’’.
She reiterated that the signed financing agreement valued at10 million euros with the EAC Secretariat on 23rd November 2016 to support the establishment of the mobile labs project underlines that Germany wishes to further strengthen the long-standing and deep relationship it maintains with the East African Community in order to contribute to the well-being and prosperity of its citizens”.
The meeting was being attended by Head of the National/Central Public Health Laboratory; National Head of Disease Prevention and Control; National Head of Integrated Diseases Surveillance and Response, National Head of the Health Management Information Systems/Strategic Information Management from each of the Partner States, KfW and the technical consultants from the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine.
For more information, please contact:
Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org