Arusha. The East African Community (EAC) is well prepared in the case of a full-blown outbreak of rift valley fever (RVF).
“We have identified opportunities for improvement in emergency preparedness and response,” the regional organisation said yesterday.
One approach to be used in case of outbreak is called Table Top Exercise (TTX) in which all players in the health sector and levels of administrations will be mobilised to counter it.
“Our region is frequently impacted by outbreaks of RVF and other diseases of animal origin, including Ebola,” said Dr Michael Katende of the EAC Secretariat.
Speaking during a gathering of health experts from the region, the official said mechanisms have been developed in case of RVF or Ebola emergencies.
The exercise has been facilitated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) with the support of the German government through its aid agency, GIZ.
Dr Katende said being a disease that impacts both animals and humans, RVF also requires ‘One Health’ approach, “which integrates both human health and animal health expertise”.
Under TTX and ‘One Health’ approaches, he explained, “we work together to address our shared regional concerns, including risk and crisis communication and logistics”.
The gathering in Arusha attracted about 100 representatives from the six partner states from different sectors including tourism and trade, animal and public health and ports of entry.
Last month, the EAC secretariat announced that livestock movement within the bloc would be restricted to limit the spread of the disease which is endemic to the region.
Two months ago, 26 people in two counties in Kenya were suspected to have contracted the infectious disease while in Rwanda samples taken from cattle tested positive.