Igad Leaders Discuss Strategy To Combat Covid-19.
The Intergovernmental Agency on Development (IGAD) leaders on Monday agreed to establish a joint strategy to fight pandemic diseases and an emergency fund for its implementation. The heads of states and governments of the IGAD held a meeting on Monday chaired by the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok who is also the Chair of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
The extraordinary meeting was dedicated to deliberate on an IGAD strategy to combat the spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) in the region. The leaders who took part in the video conference summit discussed the measures to be undertaken during the crisis that has taken the world by storm. Djibouti’s President, Ismail Omar Guelleh, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed; South Sudan FVP Riek Machar and the IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu.
In a statement released after the meeting, the regional body agreed on the need for a joint approach to deal with the pandemic due to the strong interactivity and circulation of the population in the region. The IGAD leaders decided to formulate an IGAD Regional Response Strategy to pandemic diseases particularly COVID-19. IGAD Ministers of Health and Finance shall meet virtually to inform the strategy. Further, they decided to establish an IGAD Emergency Fund for the control of pandemic diseases and the strengthening of health systems in the region.
The IGAD also agreed to strengthen national health systems and build local manufacturing capacity for medical equipment and supplies to fight pandemic diseases. They also called on the international financial institutions to cancel the debts of IGAD countries to free up resources to fight the Coronavirus.This development happened at a time when Uganda and other Countries are announcing strict precautionary measures which include total shutdown and curfew which are aimed at containing the pandemic. As IGAD leaders brainstorm timely interventions to combat COVID-19, we await to see if these policy prescriptions will materialise.