Calling East Africa to Action!

The East African Community (EAC) held its first ever East African Diabetes Summit (EADS) from 11-14 July in Kampala, Uganda. The chosen theme of the Summit was: "Setting the Pace - Comprehensive Approach for Managing Diabetes & other NCDs in the East African Community".East African Diabetes Summit logo

The Summit was organised by the International Diabetes Federation Africa Region and co-hosted by the Ugandan Ministry of Health. It provided the Community with the opportunity to demonstrate its leadership on diabetes and Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and its commitment towards ensuring a successful outcome at the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs.

Headquartered in Arusha, Tanzania, the East African Community (EAC) is the regional intergovernmental organisation of the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.

The Summit was formally opened by the Ugandan Vice President who called for harmonized policies, standards and treatment guidelines so that people travelling within the region will enjoy standard treatment for diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. The Hon. Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi also asked for public and private sectors to collaborate with a view to developing policies and strategies to combat diabetes in Eastern Africa.

The Secretary General of the East African Community, Ambassador Dr. Richard Sezibera, underlined that diabetes and other non-communicable diseases remain misunderstood and a neglected epidemic. Diabetes and Non-communicable diseases represent a major development issue for the East Africa region which threaten to undermine progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Financing remains crucial as less than 3% of US$22 billion Official Development Assistance (ODA) for health in low-income countries is allocated to NCDs. Innovative financing and access to increased ODA resources are a key issue for the region, in line with national priorities as in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness Less than 3% of US$22 billion Official Development Assistance (ODA) for health in low-income countries is allocated to NCDs. Less than 3% of US$22 billion Official Development Assistance (ODA) for health in low-income countries is allocated to NCDs.Less than 3% of US$22 billion Official Development Assistance (ODA) for health in low-income countries is allocated to NCDs. 

Dr. Sezibera also declared that the EAC and the rest of the world were anxiously looking towards a successful United Nations Summit on (NCDs).Uganda’s Vice President announced that his government will be represented at a high level at the UN Summit. The President of IDF officially presented the Ugandan Vice President with a copy of the NCD Alliance’s Proposed Outcomes Document for the UN Summit. Jean Claude Mbanya gave a keynote speech at the Summit, outlining the main recommendations for a successful UN High-Level Meeting, including leadership, partnerships, prevention, treatment, accountability and monitoring. JC Mbanya issued a rallying call to the EAC to unite behind these key messages.

The Minister of Health of Uganda, Christine Joyce Dradidi Ondoa, closed the proceedings by reiterating the commitment of Uganda in tackling diabetes and NCDs. The Minister committed to strengthening the NCD division within the Ministry of Health, ensuring resources for health are allocated effciciently and effectively.

During the closing ceremony, delegates at the Summit endorsed a Call For action (CFA) which aims to create a sense of urgency within the East African Community in responding to the diabetes and NCD epidemic and reflects the priority action areas identified during the Summit for the region. The document targets Governments, civil society and the private sector within the region, as well as the international community. The CFA also seeks to inform preparations for the UN Summit on Prevention and Control of NCDs.

Read the Call for Action. (PDF, 221 KB)