The East African Community Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health, during their 10th Ordinary Meeting at the EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania from 13th to 16th October 2014 addressed various areas on regional cooperation on health.
Concerned about the ongoing epidemic of Ebola Virus Disease that has so far caused approximately 4,400 deaths mostly in West African Region, the Hon. Ministers of Health extensively discussed the epidemic.
Recognizing the recommendations of the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, the Emergency Ministerial Meeting on Ebola in Accra, the Extra-ordinary Session of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the emergency meeting of the AU Executive Council on Ebola held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the meeting of the East African Community Partner States’ National Civil Aviation and Airport Authorities on Ebola Virus Disease Emergency Preparedness and Response convened by the EAC Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA); and the EAC Regional High Level Inter-ministerial meeting of Ministers In charge of Health, Transport and Immigration;
Concerned by the rapid increase in the number of cases and deaths as well as the impact of EVD outbreak on socio-economic development, security and the wellbeing of the people of the East African Community and the African continent;
Cognizant of the challenges faced by countries in preparing for and responding to the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak specifically in the areas of: coordination; communication; cross border collaboration; supplies and equipment logistics management; financing; case management; infection prevention and control; surveillance and contact tracing, diagnostics and community sensitization and participation;
The 10th Ordinary Meeting of the East African Community Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health reviewed the status of implementation of Ebola Virus Disease preparedness and response interventions at regional and national level and took the following actions:
a) Approved the EAC Regional Ebola Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan of Action and directed the EAC Secretariat to mobilize USD 750,000 from the EAC reserve fund to support implementation
b) Approved the “East African Community Integrated Disease Surveillance Network (EAIDSNet)” as the regional Focal point (Hub) for the “African Union Network of Infectious Diseases (the AUNIDS)”.
c) Approved the establishment of an EAC Regional Emergency Preparedness and Response Task Force on Ebola Virus Disease and other communicable diseases in the EAC
d) Directed the EAC Secretariat to facilitate harmonization of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Guidelines for screening passengers across the borders/international ports of entry in the EAC in line with IHR (2005)
e) Directed the EAC Secretariat to convene a regional meeting of experts within ten (10) days to provide technical guidance on models to address the existing logistical, human resource and infrastructural challeges of implementing regional and National Level Epidemic Preparedness and Response Actions.
f) Urged Partner States and directed the Secretariat to implement the recommendations of the meeting of the EAC Partner States National Civil Aviation Authorities (NCAAs) and National Airport Authorities (NAAs) held in Entebbe, Uganda on 21st August 2014.
g) Urged Partner States and relevant Partner States’ Institutions to implement resolutions of the EAC Regional High Level Multi-Sectoral Ministerial meeting on emergency preparedness and response to Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) held in Nairobi, Kenya on 17th September 2014.
h) Partner States committed to contribute a team of medical experts, health workers and funds to support Ebola Virus Disease Containment in West Africa as follows:PU Members pledged to meet the challenge and make gender equality a reality within a generation.