EAC integration

Burundi hopes to benefit from EAC health and scientific expertise

As Burundi hosts the 6th East African Health and Scientific Conference, the Public Health Ministry, says such regional undertaking has potentials to help the country cope with health issues.

The opening of the 6th East African Health and Scientific Conference and International Health Exhibition and Fair on 29 March in Bujumbura

The opening of the 6th East African Health and Scientific Conference and International Health Exhibition and Fair on 29 March in Bujumbura

“It is necessary that we sit together with doctors and people with different expertise [of the region] to decide on how we can collaborate on these issues and help one another”, says Dr Josiane Nijimbere, Burundi Minister of Health.

She says that though Burundi has already received much of the necessary means to address health issues, Burundi still needs the region. She says there is a need for a common decision on the prevention, control and eradication of various disease outbreaks. “Many hands make light work”, she says. As for President Pierre Nkurunziza, “Burundi certainly has lessons to learn, but also some success stories to share”.

Diseases such as malaria, cholera and others sometimes linked to climate change are endemic in Burundi. It hosts the three-day EAC health and scientific conference just few days after the Minister of Health has declared malaria as an epidemic.

The main theme of the conference that started on Wednesday 29 March is “Preparedness for and Control of Disease Outbreaks, Epidemics, and Pandemics, in the context of Climate Change, Globalization, and Gaps in Health Systems”. The conference also includes an International Health Exhibition and Fair.

Dr Nijimbere says such conference brings together regional experts to analyze the causes of diseases, how EAC country members can join their effort to prevent, treat and hopefully eradicate the diseases.

She says issues to be discussed in the conference also include intra- and inter-border movement of medicines and the control of whether the medicines meet international standards or are sold legally.

Nova Twungubumwe, an EAC expert, says there will be a report outlining guidelines on the preparedness of disease outbreaks in the region at the end of the conference.

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