ECSA Health Community’s Contribution to Sustainable Development Goals
The East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) is a regional health organisation that fosters regional cooperation on health through improved efficiency and relevance. ECSA-HC is well-positioned to contribute to the attainment of the SDGs, as one of the key stakeholders in regional development in the east, central and southern Africa. The following highlights areas of ECSA-HC’s involvement that will contribute to the attainment of specific SDGs. It is understood that all the SDGs are inter-related, and that none will be attained in isolation of the others.
1.Ending Poverty in all its forms everywhere
ECSA-HC advocates for policies and programmes that target the poor and aim at narrowing disparities in access to services and health outcomes between different socioeconomic groups in the member states. It promotes the equitable deployment of human resources for health through the development of incentive packages to attract health workers to remote rural areas, where the majority of the poor live. It facilitates improved access to quality diagnostic services in remote areas and contain the spread of communicable diseases, which predominantly affect the poor, particularly women and children. ECSA-HC conducts equity monitoring of a core set of health indicators at the regional level, in order to bring glaring disparities to the attention of planners and policy makers for their appropriate corrective action.
2.Ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition
ECSA-HC supports its Member States to link policies and investments that integrate agriculture with improved health, food and nutrition security. It supports member states to scale up high impact food security and nutrition actions through capacity building, sharing of lessons and promising practices across countries.
3.Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages
ECSA-HC has a comprehensive portfolio of health programmes that complement the work of ministries of health in priority areas of Family Health, Infectious Diseases, NCDs, Food Security and Nutrition, Health Systems and Human Resources for Health. In addition, ECSA-HC promotes knowledge management for decision making, and as a learning organisation promotes shared learning within the region.
ECSA-HCfacilitates the generation of research evidence and its translation into policies and programmes, to improve the health status and wellbeing of the population in the region. In view of increasing anti-microbial resistance and the emergence and re-emergence of diseases of public health concern, ECSA-HC facilitates the introduction of state-of-the-art diagnostic technologies and strengthening of cross-border surveillance for communicable diseases in the region.
ECSA-HCenhances the surgical capacity of member states to prevent deaths from the increased incidences of injuries from industrial and road traffic accidents. It also supports member states in developing health financing policies and strategies that promote equitable access to health services with financial risk protection. ECSA-HC monitors progress of member states towards the achievement of universal health coverage targets.
ECSA-HC also supports its Member States to develop cost effective strategies, reduce modifiable risk factors and strengthen health systems to address Non-Communicable Diseases.
4.Equitable quality education
Through its colleges, ECSA-HC provides affordable and quality education to health professionals in the region. It also develops the technical, leadership and managerial skills of people working in health and related sectors in the member states.
5.Gender equality and empowerment of women and girls
ECSA-HC supports member states to develop policies and programmes that improve access to sexual and reproductive health, elimination of gender-based violence and food and nutrition security.Undernourished girls and women are often least able to take advantage of microcredit, schooling or paying jobs because of lower work capacity, sickness and inability to take advantage of resources to their benefit.
6.Availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation
Through its various projects, ECSA-HC develops the capacity of National Reference Laboratories to perform water quality testing to check for microbiological parameters, ensuring safe water, free of contamination of microbial agents, and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials.
7.Reduce inequalities within and among countries
ECSA-HC develops the capacity of member states in global health diplomacy to enhance their representation and voice in international, economic and financial institutions, in order to reduce inequities among countries. ECSA-HC also works with countries to develop health policies that promote the reduction of inequities in health between different socioeconomic groups.