The Chairperson of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health and Minister of State Health in the Republic of Uganda Sarah Opendi has said that the region is committed to eliminate HIV/AIDs and preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030.
Opendi urged stakeholders to work diligently to build consensus in the health sector in order to build the health of the EAC population. Opendi was speaking during the official opening of the 1st EAC Roundtable on investing in Health Infrastructure, systems, services and research for the accelerated attainment of Universal Health coverage and sustainable development at the Speke Resort Munyonyo, in Kampala, Uganda.
The Minister underscored the importance of investing in health, which is the most direct route of creating wealthy nations.
“Poor health hinders our ability to realize national and global socio-economic aspiration set out in the national development plans, Common Market Protocol, the EAC vision 2050 and SDGs,” she said.
She said the roundtable comes at time when the region was still facing major challenges of emerging and re-emerging diseases which calls for increased investment in human financial and technological resources by various stakeholders
“It is my sincere hope that this roundtable dialogue shall come up with concrete proposals and build consensus on priority health infrastructure systems, services and research investments with the highest potential to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage and the health related sustainable development goals,” said Opendi.
She disclosed that the EAC Partner States were currently expanding the regions capacity to deliver high quality specialized health services through EAC Regional Centre of Excellence for higher medical education and research with the support from the African Development Bank.
On his part, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Productive and Social Sectors, Christophe Bazivamo on behalf of the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko, underscored the importance of regional cooperation in health within the context of EAC Common Market Protocol to be buttressed on harnessing the comparative advantage of all stakeholders including Public, Private and Civil Society.
“Through collaborative actions the region will re position health as a key driver of economic growth and contribute to the attainment of the other pillars of regional integration,” said Bazivamo.
The Deputy Secretary General informed stakeholders at the roundtable that the region had made significant progress in many areas including expanding the capacity for delivery of high quality health services, training and research with the support of development Partners such as AfDB who financed the regional Centres of Excellence to facilitate access to specialized health care and cross border health services.
Bazivamo called upon the stakeholders to use roundtable discussions to consolidate regional partnership in order to strengthen the health sector based on priorities identified by the region.
The 1st EAC Roundtable on investing in Health Infrastructure, system, services and research for the accelerated attainment of Universal Health coverage and sustainable development is being attended by among others, all the Ministers in charge of Health from the EAC Partner States, Permanent /Principal Secretaries and Senior Officials from government institutions and agencies.
The Joint Retreat is aimed at giving impetus to infrastructure and health development by way of harnessing political support for regional flagship projects, funding commitments, and Public-Private Partnerships arrangements.