Assisting the East African Community in improving pandemic preparedness among its Partner States
Support to Pandemic Preparedness in the East African Community (EAC) Region III
The Secretariat of the East African Community (EAC) offers advisory and coordination support to its Partner States in combating communicable diseases. While not affected by the 2014/2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, East Africa frequently experiences outbreaks with fatalities, as in 2022 in Uganda. Rift Valley fever, Marburg fever, Dengue fever, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, yellow fever viruses, to name a few, are endemic and pose a threat to public health.
The 2014/2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, COVID-19 and other major public health events in the last years revealed major shortcomings that accelerated their spread. These include the lack of timely, clear and efficient communication tailored to the targeted population and the absence of close cooperation between various disciplines. Multisectoral and multidisciplinary cooperation is especially important, as around two thirds of infectious diseases with epidemic potential are zoonoses, infectious diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans.
EAC and Partner States give the One Health approach high priority. While this is enshrined in regional policy framework documents for pandemic preparedness, implementation is only in the early stages.
The support provided by the EAC Secretariat to its Partner States in pandemic preparedness has improved.
The project’s practice-oriented and participative strategy includes the following activities:
- advising the Secretariat on implementing the ‘One Health’ approach, offering technical expertise regionally and nationally to this end,
- training disciplines and sectors involved in preventing and responding to outbreaks of infectious diseases in cross-sectoral, integrative epidemic management,
- working with relevant actors giving them the skills required to carry out effective, responsible and balanced pandemic preparedness. These include medical doctors and veterinarians, climate, environmental and agricultural experts, and representatives from trade and tourism, among others.
Last update: February 2023