The East African Community member states have been given a two year deadline to develop a National e-Health Strategy.
This came up at the just concluded 2nd EAC Regional e-Health and Telemedicine Ministerial Conference and International Trade Exhibition that took place in Kigali Rwanda.
The conference, called upon the EAC member states that have not yet developed their National e-Health Strategy, to develop it in line with the WHO – ITU National e-Health Strategy Toolkit by 2020.
East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) in collaboration with the East African Regional Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Engineering and e-Health at the University of Rwanda, the EAC Secretariat and Partner States convened the conference that saw delegates drawn from the regional bloc in attendance.
According to a statement from the EAC secretariat, EASTECO has also been directed to conduct an EAC regional e-Health readiness assessment incorporating aspects of systems interoperability, costs and benefits of investing in e-Health by 30th December 2019 in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat, East African Health Research Commission, Partner States’ National Science and Technology Commissions/Councils and Partners.
Speaking at the event, the Chief Guest, Rt. Hon. Dr. Kivejinja, Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers noted. “The importance of the conference in bringing together public and private policymakers, technologists, academia, researchers, medical professionals, NGOs and development partners to discuss how technology can be used to enhance healthcare delivery, brainstorm on eHealth policies and regulations and showcase eHealth solutions.” He said.
EASTECO was also mandated with a task to promote incubation of local digital health solutions in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat and the Partner States’ Ministries and Agencies responsible for ICT, Science, Technology and Innovation and submit progress reports to relevant Sectoral Councils and the Council of Ministers every two years.
Hon. Kivejinja called for a “continuous cooperation of EAC Partner States in developing relevant policies and adopting new technologies to enhance healthcare delivery through the use of information technology and communications systems with ultimate goal of improving the standards of living and increasing life expectancy of East Africans.”
The theme of the Conference was “harnessing science, technology and innovation to transform healthcare delivery and accelerate the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals in East Africa.”