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Poor health hinders EAC goals - minister Opendi

By Apollo Mubiru

Added 22nd February 2018 02:26 PM

Opendi urged stakeholders to work diligently to build consensus in the health sector in order to build the health of the EAC population.

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Opendi urged stakeholders to work diligently to build consensus in the health sector in order to build the health of the EAC population.

PIC: Left-right: Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi, Rwanda state minister for health; Burundi health minister Josiane Nijimbere;  Sarah Opendi, state minister of health and chair East African Community sectoral council of health ministers and Sicily Karuiki, the cabinet secretary Ministry of Health, Kenya during the 1st EAC roundtable on investing in health infrastructure, systems, services and research  for accelerated attainment of universal health coverage. This was at Speke Resort Munyonyo on Wednesday 21 February 2018 (Credit: Roderick Ahimbazwe)

EAC | HEADS OF STATE JOINT RETREAT | HEALTH


UGANDA - East Africa Community members states are committed to eliminating HIV/AIDs and preventing maternal and child deaths by 2030, the chairperson of the EAC sectoral council of ministers of health, Sarah Opendi, has said.

Opendi, who is also the Ugandan state minister for health, urged stakeholders to work diligently to build consensus in the health sector in order to build the health of the EAC population.

“Poor health hinders our ability to realise national and global socio-economic aspiration set out in the national development plans, common market protocol, the EAC vision 2050 and sustainable development goals (SDGS),” she said.

The minister underscored the need to invest in health, which is the direct route of creating wealthy nations.

Opendi was speaking during the official opening of the first 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.

She said the roundtable comes at a time when the region is 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,” Opendi said.

She disclosed that the EAC partner states were currently expanding the regions capacity to deliver high quality specialised health services through EAC Regional Centre of Excellence for higher medical education and research with the support from the African Development Bank (AfDB).

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 co-operation in health within the context of EAC common market protocol to be buttressed on harnessing the comparative advantage of all stakeholders, including those in public, private and civil society.

“Through collaborative actions, the region will reposition health as a key driver of economic growth and contribute to the attainment of the other pillars of regional integration,” Bazivamo said.

Bazivamo informed stakeholders 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 specialised healthcare and cross-border health services.
 
Bazivamo called on 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 first 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.

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