Regional

Second Phase of the EAC Network of Public Health Reference Laboratories for Communicable Diseases Project launched

The second phase of the East African Community (EAC) Regional Network of Public Health Reference Laboratories for Communicable Diseases Project was launched Friday at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.  

The three-year second phase of the project funded by the Federal Government of Germany through the German Development Bank (KfW), is set to further strengthen the capacities of the EAC Partner States to respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases, including bacterial diseases and cross-border epidemics.  

Speaking during the launch, the Chair of the EAC Council of Ministers and Kenya’s EAC Affairs and Regional Development Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Adan Mohamed said the EAC Regional Network of Public Health Reference Laboratories was a key pillar in strengthening the region’s capacity to diagnose infectious diseases and to respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases, including bacterial diseases and cross-border epidemics.  

CS Mohamed told the participants at the launch that the main interventions under Phase II of the project will include: Procurement of six (6) container-based mobile laboratory units and equipment for bacterial culture and mobile field sequencing/bioinformatics for rapid pathogen identification and AMR testing; consumables, test kits and high clearance all-terrain vehicles for transporting the container-based laboratory and training of the EAC Partner States public health laboratory personnel to the required level of competency to operate the container-based mobile laboratories for Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) surveillance among others.  

“Let me assure you that the EAC Partner States will continue to implement the existing EAC protocols to ensure that the region is cushioned from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other Communicable Diseases,” said Mr. Mohamed. 

In his remarks, the EAC Secretary General, Dr Peter Mathuki, said the contribution of the Regional Network of Public Health Reference Laboratories for Communicable Diseases could not be underestimated, adding that the EAC had already taken steps to ensure that there are proper documents and wide dissemination of the contribution of mobile laboratories to the pandemic response in East Africa.  

“I take this opportunity to appreciate the support from our committed friends, the German Government and the German people for this timely support and for the continued and strong collaboration with our region,” said Mathuki. 

The Secretary General commended the EAC Partner States for a strong and fairly well coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the experts, who have committed themselves to fighting the pandemic.    

“I urge the experts in the region to continue focusing on initiatives that will make our region safe,” said the SG.  

Mathuki urged Partner States to continue investing in strengthening structures to support implementation of the project to benefit the region and ensure that the mobile laboratory project acquired under Phases I and II of this project get mainstreamed under the national laboratory services for sustainability.  

On her part, the Ambassador of Germany to Tanzania and EAC, Ms. Regine Hess, urged the Partner States to use mobile laboratories to conduct high quality research that will contribute to the pool of knowledge available on various health issues, including AMR, epidemic outbreaks, malaria resistance, among others, which should influence policy in the long run. 

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