ACADEMICIANS and Researchers in East Africa have advised for a link with health service providers on research work to improve and strengthen healthcare systems, if the bloc seriously wants to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in health sector.
The professionals made the call in Dar es Salaam yesterday in a meeting attended by various health stakeholders from East African member states, organised to explore opportunities which can utilise the collaborative strengths of the academics, healthcare providers and policymakers to address national health goals towards the attainment of the United Nations' SDG in low and income countries.
The symposium was organised by the Aga Khan University Medical College, East Africa in collaboration with the Association and Academic Health Centres International with the theme that ran as 'Driving the Health Agenda for Sustainable Future in Low and Middle income countries'.
Speaking during the symposium, Tanzania Chief Medical Officer, Prof Mohammad Kambi challenged academic institutions on how to access health databases to increase collaboration and partnership between their governments and higher learning institutions, for more evidence based approach toward research and learning.
"It is vital to strengthen the existing relationship between the Ministry of Health and academic institutions to set strategic plans and programmes of health related initiatives in the region," he said.
On his side, the Aga Khan University Tanzania Dean of Medical College, Prof Robert Armstrong challenged universities working in tertiary care facilities within the bloc to take a central place in providing necessary leadership and face challenges by reversing them in the vicious cycle of adversity and ill-health.
"While commendable progress has been witnessed under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) period, a lot still remains to be done for the achievement of the SDGs," he added.
Prof Armstrong further advised that health providers in low and middle income countries are expected to provide necessary data and affordable solutions to address health challenges through research and capacity building.
According to the Aga Khan University Associate Dean of Research, Prof William Macharia, the event also addressed possible solutions by providing strategic avenue in the development of critical discourses in the current global health agenda, and ways in which systems in East Africa bloc could utilise the models to push for their health system improvements.
"The event also focused on identifying existing national health systems models in the region, highlighting successful models internationally and exploring strategies to improve the collaborative environment within the East African Community,"said Prof Macharia.
On his part, the Associate Dean Medical College, Aga Khan University Tanzania, Dr Hussein Kidanto said the government of Tanzania has already employed different strategies to ensure that the country achieves its health police (2011-2012) goals in the areas of primary healthcare, Non-Communicable Diseases, women and child health, nutrition and HIV/ AIDS as well as infectious diseases.