Azania Post Reporter
The East African Community is ready to face possible epidemics, its experts having learnt from the harsh effects of an Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The Community’s head of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at the EAC Secretariat, Owora Othieno, said that the conference on ‘Lessons for the Future – What East African Experts learned from fighting the Ebola epidemic in West Africa’ that took place in Nairobi last month decided that regional and national contingency plans need to be developed and implemented with adequate resources to prevent and address future epidemics.
“There’s need to establish national and regional teams of experts that can be rapidly deployed in an emergency,” he said.
According to him community engagement is crucial if disease outbreaks are to be effectively contained.
“Health systems need to be strengthened and work effectively with other sectors and areas of expertise to ensure a holistic and effective response,” Othieno said.
Jesca Eriyo, EAC deputy Secretary General (Finance and Administration) said diseases can cross borders.
She said that the lessons learned from our own experts, arguing that “first-hand experiences” would help strengthen the Community’s future response to outbreaks.
Dr Zabulon Yeti, the Head of the WHO/AFRO Office in Brazzaville, Congo was quoted as saying that the meeting was an opportunity for deployed experts to come together, be ‘debriefed’ and talk freely about their experiences.
The conference had participation from the African Union, Regional Economic Communities and Regional Health and Development Organisations, from the WHO AFRO office, the UN and other international development partners as well as representatives from Doctors without Borders and others bodies.