November 27, 2022, (PK12, Djibouti): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), with support from the European Union through the EU-IGAD Covid19 Response Programme, officially launched the COVID-19 Vaccination Initiative among truck drivers on the Ethio-Djibouti trade corridors in the vicinity of Djibouti City at PK12.
The COVID-19 Vaccination Initiative for truck drivers on the Ethio-Djibouti trade corridors is an initiative of the Governments of Djibouti and Ethiopia, under the coordination of the IGAD Regional COVID-19 Response Programmet focusing on cross-border areas along the trade zones and corridors.
Officiating the ceremony, the Minister of Health and Sanitation of Djibouti, Dr. Ahmed Robleh, affirmed that this initiative was a regional partnership model in favor of the health and well-being of cross-border communities and should be duplicated.
“The EU-IGAD Covid-19 Response Programme has demonstrated its usefulness and capacity to counter the threat of Covid-19 thanks to the dynamic coordination led by the IGAD Secretariat in collaboration with all the implementing partners for more than two years”, he added.
Speaking on behalf of the IGAD Executive Secretary, the Director of IGAD Health and Social DevelopmentDivision, Mme Fathia Alwan reiterated that the “regional vaccination programme for cross-border truckers and populations living along the Djibouti-Ethiopian corridors expresses the will of IGAD Member States to build regional integration gradually”. “The initiative is grounded in the legitimate expectations of IGAD populations in the health field and, more generally, in terms of social development”, she continued.
“This intervention is exemplary and, with gradual progress, will be scaled up to other cross-border areas where the movement of truck drivers, traders, and mobile populations are in various trade corridors in the region”, the Director stated.
The Head of Cooperation of EU to Djibouti, Ms Simona Schleden, stated that the vaccination centres represented “an additional, concrete, and rapid response to redress the negative impact of COVID-19 not only on health, but also on the economy, and the field of trade in particular; aneed conveyed by IGAD to regional and international bodies”.
IGAD has engaged in preparation, vaccination, and public education activities based on the protocol agreed upon by the Member States to strengthen the vaccination initiative. Since its opening on September 19, 2022, in PK12, the centre has served approximately 6,000 truck drivers along this Ethio-Djibouti trade corridor.
A new centre at the Tadjourah Port was started on November 15, 2022, with a plan to scale up to Togowachale and Berbera Port in Somaliand.
The vaccination of truck drivers against the COVID-19 pandemic is part of the EU-IGAD COVID-19 Response Programme, funded by the European Union, coordinated by IGAD, managed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and implemented by IGAD Member States, Djibouti and Ethiopia, and Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA).