Undertaking joint action towards the prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases and to control pandemics and epidemics of communicable and vector-borne diseases that might endanger the health and welfare of the residents of the Community and cooperating in facilitating mass immunisation and other public health community campaigns.
The frequent population movement across the borders of the five countries poses a greater risk of spreading diseases from one country to another.
The recent growth in regional trade and travel in East Africa has increased the likelihood that disease epidemics will involve more than one country.
The response to such a regional epidemiological emergency is complex and involves national, regional and international agencies. An efficient and quick flow of information across the borders is therefore, crucial for averting such incidents of cross border spread. The re-establishment of the East African Community (EAC) in 1999 provides room for increased collaboration in the area of disease surveillance and epidemic control and prevention of spread.
In order to promote the achievement of the objectives in respect to cooperation in identified priority health activities in the region as set out in Article 118 of the Treaty for the establishment of the EAC, five standing Technical Working Groups responsible for handling detailed health matters have been formed. These are:
- Medicines and Food Safety;
- Control and Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), HIV and AIDS;
- Control and Prevention of Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases;
- Health Research, Policy and Health Systems Development; and,
- Reproductive, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition
The EAC Health Department has developed several frameworks and instruments to respond to identified regional health challenges and priority interventions. These include:
- The EAC HIV and AIDS Multi-Sectoral Strategic Plan (2008-2013)
- Regional Reproductive Health Strategic Plan, EAC Regional Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan of Action (2012-2016)
- Draft EAC Regional Pharmaceutical Policy
- Draft EAC Regional Food Safety and Quality Policy
- The Regional Strategic Plan on Sexual and Reproductive Health And Rights in East Africa (2008-2013)
- The EAC Biennial Work Plan on Disease Prevention and Control