Arusha. German support to the East African Community (EAC) rose to $280 million yesterday when it added another $128 million to support health and education projects in the region.
The bulk of the funds, $105 million, will go into EAC’s immunisation programme with Gavi, the global Vaccine Alliance.
The grant will be spent on procurement of vaccines for children in all the six EAC partner states. The programme is financed through the German Development Bank (KfW).
“The programme aims at reducing child mortality in the region and mainly target newly born,” said EAC Secretary General Liberat Mfumukeko. To-date, according to him, Germany has financed nearly 80 million dozes of life-saving vaccines for the region.
Vaccinations started in 2013 with the average immunization coverage and has kept on increasing, making EAC’s one of the strongest in Africa. Other funds ($23 million) under the grant signed here yesterday between Mr Mfumukeko and the Charge d’Affaires at the German embassy in Tanzania Jorge Herera will go into other health projects.
These include the ‘EAC Regional Centre of Excellence for Health Supply Chain Management’ located at the University of Rwanda. Another $2.2 million will go to support Ebola preparedness within the on-going EAC-German project dubbed ‘Regional Network of Reference Laboratories for Communicable Diseases’.
Some $5.3 million will be disbursed to the ‘Academic Centre for Digital Innovation in East Africa’ at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM_AIST).
The EAC boss thanked Germany for its continued support, which, he said, had now reached $280m since cooperation between the two sides started in 1998.
“Immunisation, in particular, will go a long way in saving the lives of millions of children in the six EAC partner states”, he said.