Ministers in charge of Health of member countries of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) today endorsed a Declaration on Refugee and Cross Border Health Initiatives as they concluded their 13th IGAD Health Ministerial Committee Meeting in Mombasa.
Speaking at the opening of the Ministerial Meeting, IGAD Executive Secretary, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, remarked: “Today we shall be laying a firm foundation for the future of health policy in our region by endorsing a number of Regional Policies and Strategies, as well as the program recommendations”.
He added that cross-border mobile population faced “significant challenges in accessing to basic healthcare needs”.
The Executive Secretary urged member states to “come together and have common and regionally recognized health standards that will ease the movement of [our] people and remove non-tariff barriers to their economic growth and prosperity”.
“As IGAD we shall continue to support our Member States to address the health needs of the under-served rural cross-border populations, refugees and host communities and commit to work closely with existing cross border health systems”, he said.
Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary of Kenya, Senator Mutahi Kagwe said there was a need to stimulate conversations across the region and leverage on the respective comparative advantages to achieve greater efficiencies to better coordinate response to future pandemics, as well as other health emergencies and threats. He called for synergy among Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member states in dealing with challenges posed by emerging health threats.
“The need for countries to work together has been sharply thrust upon us. We now know, perhaps better than any time in the past that Countries are more connected than ever before. A health challenge in one Country can easily manifest in another & thus we cannot work in isolation”, he concluded.
Ambassador Magdi Ahmed Mofadal El-Nour from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sudan and the Chief of Mission of the European Delegation in Djibouti also took the floor for their opening remarks.