Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has called for synergy among Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member states in dealing with challenges posed by emerging health threats.

Speaking in Mombasa County during the 13th IGAD Health ministerial meeting, the health CS said the coronavirus pandemic has necessitated the need to embrace sharing of information and data across borders to contribute to improved health outcomes and strengthened disease surveillance.

“We need to be bold and think outside the box about how to develop African solutions to African problems in health, going forward. This might be a cliché but it aptly captures our greatest lesson from the pandemic.  We know that the disruption of global supply chain led to the isolation of many Countries, especially those in the global south.” The CS told the meeting.

He said there was a need to stimulate conversations across the region and leverage on the respective comparative advantages to achieve greater efficiencies to better coordinate response to future pandemics, as well as other health emergencies and threats.

“The need for Countries to work together has been sharply thrust upon us. We now know, perhaps better than any time in the past, that Countries are more connected than ever before.  A health challenge in one Country can very easily manifest in another and therefore we cannot work in isolation” Observed Kagwe.

According to the health CS, there was a need to reposition today’s Health Workforce for the future, not only to address challenges affecting the continent’s health sector but also to reform the workforce for the global market by enhancing their global competitiveness.

While lauding the support of international partners, IGAD chair Ambassador Magdi Ahmed said there was a need to strengthen corporation among member states in an effort to adequately prepare the region from health, food security and other emerging challenges.

He said there was a need to cushion the region from shocks resulting from unexpected occurrences such as what is happening between Ukraine and Russia.

He said such episodes will have negative implications on the region and could derail ongoing efforts for a peaceful and integrated IGAD.

Speaking at the same forum, IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu said IGAD will continue to support Member States to address the health needs of the under-served rural cross-border populations, refugees and host communities.