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Celebrating 40 Years  February 2015

Professor Yoswa M. Dambisya Director General ECSA Health Community

Professor Yoswa M. Dambisya
Director General
ECSA Health Community

The Year 2015 is a cross-roads for us all as it marks the beginning of the transition from a focus on the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) to the Post-2015 Development Agenda. As a health organization operating in a region with a high burden of disease, scarce resources and a lot of the unfinished MDG agenda, ECSA Health Community has used the beginning of 2015 to reflect on the challenges ahead.

The good news is that the challenges ahead are familiar, and therefore there is no fear of the unknown. The bad news is that the challenges ahead are familiar, we have confronted them before but they are still with us, which suggest that they are not easy to tackle. I renew my call for us all to look for new ways of tackling our perennial problems without of course throwing out what works but rather ensuring that we explore ways of improving on what works.

At 40 years, ECSA Health Community has come of age and takes pride of place among those organisations that have survived a lot of developments. As we reflect on the achievements and challenges of the past 40 years, perhaps even more attention should be focused on the future challenges and the opportunities they present for us an organization to contribute to better health among our people.

Our lens is increasingly focusing on cooperation. We have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the East African Community (EAC) through which we shall strengthen our cooperation within the countries that belong to our two organisations. We are working with the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) on possible areas of mutual interest, and we are engaging our colleagues in SADC along similar lines. We are part and parcel of the efforts by AU and WHO in various areas. We are also engaged with civil society and the non-government sector, EQUINET, CEHURD, HWAI, APHRC and AMREF being examples of note. Above all, we shall intensify our engagement in the member states, our raison d’etre.

And through all that we shall count on those partnerships through which we have been able to implement our diverse portfolio of programmes and activities. We are positioning ourselves to contribute to the Post-2015 Development Agenda by emphasizing Universal Health Coverage and its underlying principles. We are constantly examining not only our programmes but also our methods of work to ensure relevance within the region and to maximize on synergies with other role players.

The 60thECSA Health Ministers Conference kicks off in a few days’time (February 15-18 2015) in Kampala to reflect on the past 40 years, and to chart the vision for the next 40 years. As the Secretariat, we look forward to those deliberations, and are confident that the next 40 years will be even more exciting that the past 40 years.We have the will and determination to deliver on the expectations from our Member States. I know we can count on all your support as we work towards healthier populations in the ECSA region.

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