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16-03-2018, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) this morning opened a two-day workshop to validate the IGAD HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria Strategic Plan for 2018-2025 in Addis Ababa during an inauguration ceremony chaired by the Director of Policy & Planning at the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia, Dr Desalegn Tegabu Zegeye, with in attendance at the high table the Acting Director of Health & Social Development of IGAD, Ms Fathia Alwan, the Deputy Director of Health Population & Nutrition USAID regional office for Kenya and East Africa, and the Senior Regional Health Officer for East and Horn of Africa of the UNHCR based in Nairobi.

The objective of this meeting, which is bringing together officials from ministries of health and government agencies in charge of refugee affairs at IGAD Member States level, is to validate the strategy to be endorsed during the IGAD Health Ministerial Meeting on Regional & Cross Border Health Programmes to be held at the same venue on 19th March.

It will also serve to guide improving health services, particularly in HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, for the refugees in the region.

“The purpose of this Strategic Plan is to complement the national strategic plans of the member states regarding the three diseases,” Ms Fathia Alwan said in her opening remarks. “The focus of the IGAD Strategic Plan, however, is on cross border and mobile populations which have gained more attention in the recent years”, she added.

According to the Ag Director of IGAD Health & Social Development, the development of the Strategic Plan 2018-2025 has been participatory, and all stakeholders have been engaged during the process which started in April 2017 “by a brainstorming session on identification of focus areas for the strategic plan”.

USAID Kenya and East Africa Office Deputy Director, Mrs Wairimu Gakuo, congratulated the participants and organisers on the participatory approach to the development of a comprehensive strategy on HIV, TB and Malaria for the next 8 years and which does not leave aside refugees and cross border populations. She highlighted the support provided by the US Government to the Global Fund towards such endeavours, and also the good quality partnership between USAID and IGAD in various areas of intervention.

UNHCR Senior Officer Dr Dieudonné Yiweza encouraged the participants to finalise a strategy document that is realistic and pragmatic in implementation before Dr Desalegn declared the workshop officially open.

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