Igad is seeking digitization of the Health Sector to facilitate data sharing for decision making for the benefit of all, including refugees, IDPs, host communities and cross border populations.
This emerged on Friday, March 25, at the regional Health ministerial meeting in Mombasa, Kenya.
Among the Health ministers who attended were Mutahi Kagwe (Kenya), Lia Tedese (Ethiopia), Fowzia Abikar (Somalia), Hanifa Bangirana (Uganda) and the deputy director of Africa Centres for Disease Control Dr Ahmed Ogwell.
“IGAD shall continue to support member states to address the health equity needs of the under-served rural cross-border populations, refugees and host communities, and commit to work closely with existing cross border health systems”, Igad Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu said at the 13th IGAD Health Ministerial Meeting.
“Today we shall be laying a firm foundation for the future of health policy in our region by endorsing a number of regional policies and strategies, as well as the programme recommendations. Our countries share the informal health integration that’s already in place,” Gebeyehu added.
He urged the regional countries to jointly develop common and regionally recognized health standards that will ease the movement of people, remove non-tariff barriers to their economic growth and prosperity.”
Igad said the regional population faces significant challenges in accessing basic healthcare services, which has a negative effect on the member countries’ economy and undermines the health security for millions of citizens.
The policies adopted during the meeting included the Igad Regional Health Data Sharing and Protection Policy and the Igad Cross Border Health Policy (2021-30).
Other policies adopted were the Igad Regional Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition Advocacy Strategy and the Igad Regional Knowledge Management Strategy for Health (2022-26).
Speaking during the meeting, Igad executive secretary Workneh Gebeyehu said the meeting recognised that the regional integration agenda had implications on health.
He said there is a need to put in place measures that respond to those concerns.
“As Igad, we have always maintained that borderlands are the theatre in which the future of our region will be decided, but at the same time our borderlands have some of the lowest levels of health, economic and social infrastructure,” he said.
He called on all the eight member states to join hands in implementing and delivering on the noble intentions of the policy instruments.
“This will help unlock, catalyse and capitalise on the latent health assets that are already inherent in our populations,” he said.