ADDIS ABABA: February 25 (EI) –The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African bloc, has called on its member countries to deepen inter-country collaboration on strengthening novel coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention and control measures.
“IGAD will continue to work with the member states to strengthen inter-country collaboration on the prevention and control measures for this outbreak of novel coronavirus,” the eight-member regional bloc said in a statement issued over the weekend.
The Djibouti-based East African bloc also stressed its supports to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the African Union (AU) recommendations to countries regarding active surveillance, early detection, isolation, case management and contact tracing to prevent further spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
It further commended the step taken by its member states to install screening cameras at designated entry points at the airports, and urged that detection surveillance measures should be boosted in across all IGAD member states.
The regional bloc also called for “coordinated efforts in the region to strengthen and harmonize integrated disease surveillance and response against outbreak. Timely Information sharing, feedback and urgent response are of paramount importance containing the spread of the coronavirus and its effects.”
The IGAD also stressed that its Health and Social Development Division in collaboration with IGAD Disaster Risk Management are monitoring developments as the authorities implement measures to prevent and where applicable, contain the spread of the virus in IGAD member states.
“Understanding the urgency to work in a coordinated manner, IGAD is organizing regional expert and ministerial meetings in Djibouti on disaster preparedness that augment ongoing initiatives on concrete action plans for strengthening disease surveillance and response in the region,” an IGAD statement read.
It also disclosed that representatives from the Ministries of Health and the Disaster Risk Management of the IGAD member states, as well as partners including WHO AFRO and EMRO (WHO Regional Office for Africa, and the Eastern Mediterranean) will be invited to discuss, share experiences and prepare a joint action plan for the regional response to prevent and control the outbreak, as well as on establishing a task force for diseases surveillance and response at regional level.
“This task force will augment the countries surveillance system by sharing information through the inter-country collaboration to strengthen the contact tracing efforts directed to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the region,” the IGAD said, adding that the joint collaboration and partnership will enhance the integrated disease surveillance and response among the countries and the region at large.
The ministerial meeting will take place in Djibouti on March 19, which will be preceded by the experts meeting scheduled to be held on March 18, according to IGAD.