New health initiative good for EAC citizenry

Monday February 19 2018


By TheCitizen

Meeting recently in Kampala, Uganda, the 15th East African Community (EAC) Sectoral Council of Health Ministers approved the setting up of a facility for young health researchers. Titled Year’s Forum, this is a virtual platform to empower young health experts from all EAC states.

In that regard, the facility promises significant transformation in the health sector for it is meant to improve health research and the wellbeing of people in the region.

Indeed, we at The Citizen consider the establishment of such a programme long overdue. The health sector has for far too long been grappling with many challenges, most of them caused by little or lack of appropriate research.

Fortunately, there is now a ray of hope that some of the challenges – if not all – will soon be consigned to the dustbin of history when the initiative becomes operational. It is up to the East African Health Research Commission (EAHRC) to enroll young researchers with the potential to undertake research that will impact positively through their findings and innovations.

Our countries almost invariably come up with good initiatives intended to improve their people’s welfare, but not many of them lead to the intended outcomes – mostly due to poor implementation of the initiatives.

If implemented well, Year’s Forum should produce competent researchers, and help build a research culture that would identify solutions to health problems across the region.


Young health researchers earmarked for this programme include those pursuing PhD studies as well as those in academic or related institutions in East Africa. The EAHRC is among new EAC institutions which, we sincerely believe, will perform well in the best interests of the community’s 150 million citizenry

Much as we already envision a better healthcare system within the regional socio-econo-political bloc, it is still important that EAC governments provide support for the envisaged young up-and-coming experts.


Police are once again in the news for all the wrong reasons after a student was shot dead in Dar es Salaam on Friday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Akwilina Akwiline at this difficult moment after the life of the 21-year-old National Institute of Transport student was cut shot by a stray bullet fired by police, who were ostensibly trying to break up an illegal demonstration by opposition supporters in the city’s Kinondoni area.

It is just as well that President John Magufuli has ordered an inquiry into the incident and appropriate action be taken against those responsible for Akwilina’s death. Now that the President himself has spoken, we hope that the matter will be accorded the weight and seriousness it deserves.

While it could take time to establish who exactly fired the fatal shot, one thing is crystal clear – the Kinondoni incident was the latest in a series of cases where police have used excessive force in situations that do not warrant the use of live ammunition.