14 15 D iseases such as Ebola, Dengue Fever,Anthrax and Marburg Fever are transmitted between animals and humans and can jeopardise public health at any time, claiming lives and destroying livelihoods. High population density, increasing cross-border trade, trav- el, globalisation, and climate change increase the risk of spreading these infectious diseases. The Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014-2016 revealed that major flaws of the health systems accelerated the rapid spread of the disease, such as the lack of cooperation between various disciplines and of sound, culturally adapted risk and cri- sis communication. Against this backdrop, the German government sup- ports the EAC Secretariat in improving its regional crisis response capacity. The project on ‘Support to Pandemic Preparedness in the EAC Region’ started in March 2017. It works closely with the EAC to implement the Region- al Contingency Plan under the interdisciplinary One Health approach. Together with representatives from the EAC Secretariat and from Partner States the project develops a regional risk and crisis communication strat- egy and standard operating procedures to put it into practice. Pandemic preparedness is tested in simulation exercises. In 2017, the project together with the EAC Secretariat supported a dog vaccination and awareness raising cam- paign that reached some 45,000 pupils in schools in Aru- sha City. It is estimated that in Tanzania alone around 1,500 people, most of them children, die each year from rabies transmitted by dog bites. Dog vaccination de- creases rabies in dogs and has a direct impact on public health by reducing transmission to humans. Another highlight in 2017 was a regional conference on ‘Lessons for the Future – What East African Experts learned from Fighting the Ebola Epidemic in West Af- rica’, organised by the project in cooperation with the EAC Secretariat. It brought together 50 of the 500 East African doctors, nurses, epidemiologists and other health specialists who risked their lives while fighting the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Over three days, par- ticipants shared their first-hand experiences, discussed the lessons learned and came up with constructive rec- ommendations for future responses that will be made available for regional and national action. The recom- mendations include the involvement of political and traditional leaders, the establishment of national and regional teams of experts that can be rapidly deployed in an emergency, better training for health workers, cul- turally sensitive communication, strengthening health care systems in the countries, and close cooperation with other sectors and areas of expertise to ensure a ho- listic and effective response. Pandemic Preparedness in the EAC Region Supporting the East African Community in its advisory and coordinating role for the Partner States