Governor Josphat Nanok today officially opened the first cross-border health conference that brought together stakeholders in the health sector from Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia as well as development partners, to develop a single health strategy in the region.
In his address, the Governor expressed his confidence that the conference will adopt a joint strategy and work plan to accelerate service delivery on health to Ateker communities.
“This conference is an opportunity for the Ateker region to realign itself regarding the health sector. It is important that we renew our commitment toward enhancing health sector investments, strengthen health systems and attainment of Universal Health Coverage in the region.”
The conference key agenda was developing a join plan to integrate human and animal health with focus on immunization services, develop joint plan for cross-border collaboration, strengthen diseases surveillance for both human and animals and streamline information sharing among partners working in the region.
Governor Nanok said regional integration will be boosted by the expected signing of MOU, first between Kenya and Uganda and later with Ethiopia through which development partners, the United Nations, IGAD, European Union and the World Bank will be approached to support borderland development programmes to ‘accelerate socio-economic development in the region’.
He said the County Government had invested greatly in integration of the Ateker communities through immunization services, mass drug administration, strengthening diseases surveillance, treatment of animal diseases and sharing of information across the region. He urged partners to continue mobilizing for resources from government and partners to support joint programmes.
IGAD Senior Regional Coordinator Fatuma Ibrahim Adan said communities living across the border already shared resources and way of living and it was up to government and partners to realign health systems to eradicate border diseases. He called on Governor Nanok to advocate for one health strategy under the Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC).
County Secretary said the One Health programme was a dividend of peace that the County had invested in since the inception of the County Government.
County Executive for Health Jane Ajele said the county had played its role to improve access to health for communities living along the border with Uganda through integrated cross-border outreach programs. He said Turkana was the first county to pass the Community Health Services Act, that recognizes the important role of community health volunteers in strengthening access to healthcare for rural communities.
Other CECs present include Charles Lokiyoto (Public Service and Disaster Management), Emathe Namuar (Water Services, Environment and Mineral Resources) and Chris Aletia (Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries).
In the meeting were representatives from the national Ministry of Health Disease Surveillance and Response Unit (DSRU), World Health Organization (WHO), UNHCR, KEMRI, USAID among others.