East Africa to launch exercise to prepare for infectious disease outbreaks


The East African Community (EAC) is set to launch a cross-border disease preparedness exercise in Namanga, a border town between Kenya and Tanzania in June.

EAC said that cross-border Field Simulation Exercise (FSX) aims to enhance the status of preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks in the region.

"We want to make the region safe for the people and businesses in the region by addressing the challenge of cross-border disease outbreaks using the 'One Health Approach'," the bloc said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The EAC will conduct the process during June 11-14 following a directive by the EAC sectoral council of ministers of health in 2015.

The EAC region has experienced cases of Ebola, Rift Valley fever, Marburg and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, cholera, polio and plague in recent past.

The current Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has so far caused over 1,600 human cases and more than 1,000 deaths, remains a major threat to the health and socio-economic wellbeing of the people in East Africa.

"We need to prepare and put in place efforts to operationalize national and regional contingency plans," the statement said.

According to the EAC, 75 percent of infectious diseases are transmitted between animals and humans and affect agriculture, trade, tourism and livelihoods of the people.

It said that the "One Health" disease management approach is aimed at involving these sectors in prevention, response and mitigation.

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