By Zephania Ubwani
The East African Community has unveiled an anti- COVID-19 fight strategy intended to fully engage local communities.
Christopher Bazivamo, the EAC deputy secretary-general in charge of Production and Social Sectors says the comprehensive response plan will reinforce measures to protect and prevent further spread of the deadly disease in the region.
He says among the key interventions in the plan are risk communication and community engagement.
The plan which was developed following a directive by the joint meeting of regional ministers responsible for Health, Trade and EAC Affairs held via video conference is to be presented to the heads of state.
The response plan further seeks to ensure access to infection, prevention and control materials, laboratory supplies and equipment.
Another key intervention is to strengthen the region’s capacity for COVID-19 surveillance and reporting at key border points.
Until the weekend, the confirmed coronavirus cases in the EAC region were 480 for Tanzania, 465 (Kenya), 259 (Rwanda), 89 (Uganda), 35 (South Sudan) and 15 for Burundi.
The number of those reported to have recovered from the disease are 167 in Tanzania, 150 in Kenya, 98 in Rwanda, 58 in Uganda, 4 in Burundi and none in South Sudan.
No death has been reported in Uganda and South Sudan but until Friday, the former had 52 cases of recovery from Covid-19 infection.
Among the proposed measures to contain the pandemic are monitoring and coordination of preparedness, research and development and resource mobilization.
According to Mr Bazivamo, each of the six EAC partner states has received 100 test kits and an additional 500 have been ordered.
Last month, the EAC received nine mobile laboratories worth $ 1.8m which are currently being distributed throughout the region.
Each of the mobile labs has a bio-safety level of three-quarters capable of diagnosing Covid-19 and Ebola.