The East African Community has expanded the region’s capacity to deliver high quality health services through the establishment of Regional Centres of Excellence (RCoEs) in the Partner States.
EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Productive and Social Sectors, Christophe Bazivamo, further disclosed that the the RCoEs would also provide quality education, vocational training and research to students and practitioners in the health sector.
Bazivamo named the RCoEs as those for Kidney Diseases (Kenya); Heart Diseases (Tanzania); Cancer (Uganda); e-Health, Biomedical Engineering and Health Rehabilitation Sciences (Rwanda), and; Vaccines, Immunization and Health Supply Chain Management (Rwanda).
“We cannot develop skills adequately in these areas at the national level, but we can do so through these Centres of Excellence in the Partner States,” said Bazivamo.
Bazivamo said it was anticipated that the Centres of Excellence in health would reduce the huge numbers of East Africans travelling to India to seek specialized medical care.
Bazivamo was speaking at the EAC Headquarters when he received three Senators from the Kenya Senate Standing Committee on National Cohesion, Equal Opportunity and Regional Integration. The Senate Committee is undertaking a fact-finding mission to engage EAC Organs and Institutions from 18th to 30th August, 2019. On the team were Senators Judy Pareno, Mercy Chebeni and Christine Zawadi.
The DSG briefed the Senators on the progress made by the Community in the four stages of integration, namely: the Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and Political Federation.
He cited some of the achievements made by the EAC over the past two decades as: increased intra-regional trade, reduction of non-tariff barriers, infrastructure development, harmonisation of education systems and curricula, development of the EAC international e-passport, signing of Mutual Recognition Agreements, payment of tuition fees at local rates by EAC nationals studying in other Partner States, and increased cross-border investment.
He singled out the tendency by Partner States to prioritise national programmes as opposed to those agreed upon at the regional level saying this posed challenges to the implementation of EAC projects and programmes.
In her remarks, Senator Judy Pareno said that the Committee was on a fact-finding mission to enable them understand the EAC and the role of the Community’s Organs and Institutions in the implementation of the EAC Treaty, in addition to their achievements and challenges.
The Senators noted that there was lack of awareness among East Africans on the EAC integration process, adding that Partner States governments and the EAC should do more to sensitise people at the grassroots on the Community and its role in their lives.