April 8, 2020 (DJIBOUTI, Djibouti): The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, today organised a video teleconference for the Ministers of Health of the Member States meant to follow up on the recommendations by the IGAD Heads of State and Government Summit on COVID-19 held on March 30, and decide on actions to be taken in a collective and collaborative manner so as to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate the impact of the outbreak in the region.
It is in this respect that the Deputy Minister of Health of Sudan-H.E. Sarah Abdelazem Hassana, chaired the video teleconference meeting which brought together H.E. Mohamed Warsama Dirieh-Minister of Health of Djibouti, the Minister of Health of Kenya-Hon. Mutahi Kagwe, the Minister of Health of Somalia-H.E. Fowsiya Nur, the Minister of Health of South Sudan-Hon. Elizabeth Acuei Yor, and the State Minister of Health for Primary Care of Uganda- Hon. Dr. Joyce Moriku.
On the basis of the guiding principle that ‘no country is safe until every country is safe’, the Ministers discussed ways and means to operationalise the outcomes of the IGAD Summit of March 30, including the development of an IGAD Regional Response Strategy for COVID-19, the establishment of an Emergency Fund for COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks; and the strengthening the national response systems.
The Deputy Minister of Health of Sudan appreciated ‘the swift action taken by all the IGAD Heads of State and Government to contain and combat the spread of the Corona Virus’. On behalf of the Minister of Health of Sudan and Chair of the IGAD Health Ministerial Committee, H.E. Dr. Akram Ali Eltom, she communicated Sudan commitment to mobilise domestic resources in the struggle against the Corona Virus. She urged the IGAD Secretariat to expedite the process of dispatching response teams across member states and to facilitate coordinated partnership.
The Executive Secretary recalled the focus of the meeting which was to discuss the current needs of Member States and to collaboratively ‘combat the Coronavirus and provide projections of the urgently needed infrastructural, technical and material capacity for the duration of the outbreak’ via a comprehensive regional response strategy to address the COVID-19.
He also reiterated his call for protection against the pandemic for vulnerable populations such the Internally Displaced Persons, the refugees and the migrants in the region.
Following their deliberations, a Call for Action document was released at the closure of the meeting. Among other major items on the programme, the Ministers
- endorsed the outlines of a Regional Response Plan (RRP) to combat COVID-19 pandemic presented by the IGAD Secretariat;
- established a regional taskforce of experts to coordinate and monitor the regional response to COVID-19 and other similar outbreaks; and
- tasked the IGAD Secretariat with the operationalisation of a regional Emergency Fund for COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks.
A video teleconference meeting of the Ministers of Finance of IGAD member States is to follow tomorrow April 9 so as to further look into the regional emergency fund for disease control and prevention, specifically.