East African IGAD bloc enhances regional approach towards combating COVID-19

Heads of state and Government of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) adopted Monday a regional approach for the battle against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, which is ravaging nations across the globe.

This came at an Extraordinary Summit via video conference during which IGAD heads of state and government discussed the strategy to be adopted to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the region, according to a statement from the East African bloc on Tuesday.

As the chair of the IGAD assembly, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok of Sudan noted that the coronavirus would significantly impact the economies of the IGAD region and roll back gains made toward realizing the Sustainable Development Goals in the region.

He emphasised the need for a collective regional strategy to combat COVID-19 in the IGAD region.

The IGAD Heads of State and Government submitted detailed reports on the status of coronavirus infections, fatalities and recoveries in their respective countries, as well as the measures they are undertaking to combat the menace.

The IGAD Executive Secretary has proposed five broad measures that would form the basis of the regional response strategy and further enable the IGAD region to efficiently and effectively respond to the threat of the coronavirus.

In this vein, the IGAD Heads of State and Government decided to formulate an IGAD Regional Response Strategy to pandemic diseases particularly COVID-19.

They likewise decided to establish an IGAD Emergency Fund for the control of pandemic diseases and the strengthening of health systems in the region.

Another decision consists in mobilizing Support from the International Community to combat COVID-19, strengthen national health systems and build local manufacturing capacity for medical equipment and supplies to fight pandemic diseases.

They will ask international financial institutions to cancel the debts of IGAD Member states in order to free up resources to fight the Coronavirus; and will seek to mobilize support from IGAD medical professionals in the diaspora.

IGAD comprises Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.

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