6 February 2018

East Africa: We've Good Scientists, EAC Now Says Openly

Arusha — THE East African Community (EAC) body charged with matters related to science and technology has said that much has been done by experts on the field, but as ordinary persons need understand and benefit, it is time to come out of the laboratories.

Ms Gertrude Ngabirano, the Executive Secretary with the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) spoke of good work that has been undertaken by the professionals in the block, but little is known out there, specifically in matters of health.

"For too long we have been in the lab, publishing and coming out with new formulas but what good do they do if formulas stay ahead and there are books but are not translated to normal persons to understand and improve their livelihoods? ... we have to translate our scientific complicated language into things that ordinary persons could use," said Ms Ngabirano.

The executive secretary said it was against such background, EASTECO in collaboration with the University of Rwanda's Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Engineering and E-Health has been workingwith the experts so as all that has been done is exposed, and showcasing what science could do so far at regional level.

After the mapping, the EAC Secretariat then organised the Second regional E-Health and Telemedicine Workshop, Ministerial Conference and Trade Exhibition in Kigali, Rwanda (May 15 -- 18 this year), a platform she said was good 'showcase' for policy makers.

Ms Ngabirano said that the platform had attracted a lot of international exhibitors, but as for those of EAC will be showing the scope of technology development in the area and how to use it to develop the livelihoods of people.

Ministries responsible for health from all the partner states will be teaming up as well. EASTECO Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr Saidi Kibeya said that apart from exhibitions, the meeting would be assessing both policies and technical elements that could support an enabling environment for e-healthcare solutions as well as discussions of e-health areas such as telemedicine, electronic medical records and healthcare information systems were discussed and best practices illustrated.

"The EAC is now seeking to improve its healthcare delivery systems using these newfound e-health and informatics initiatives. The expansion and integration of e-health systems throughout the EAC will offer substantial and growing opportunities with internal and external collaborators that specialise in e-health solutions and ICT infrastructure," Dr Kibeya unveiled to the 'Daily News' from EASTECO Headquarters in Kigali, Rwanda.

The first such conference was held in 2010 and had some resolutions that upon perusal are subject to be lined up for implementation, to wit, Creation of an EAC Regional e-Health Working Group; Establishment of National Inter - Agency e-Health Working Groups and Development of legal and regulatory frameworks.

Others are Implementation of the East African Community Regional Integrated Telemedicine and e-Health Programme and Technology and Infrastructure Improvements for e-Health Systems and Consideration of the Proposed Financing Models for e-Health Implementation at national and regional levels in the East African Community region.

The Conference will gather participants such as policymakers from Governments and public organisations, e-Health and Telemedicine experts and professionals, Technology and ICT solutions providers, Research and Development institutions, Development Partners, International and nonprofit organisations

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