On 14 December, GIZ Pandemic Preparedness (PanPrep) project handed over to the EAC Secretariat and the EAC Partner States the regional web portal for Risk and Crisis Communication (RCC). Further, RCC national focal points from Partner States also took part in a two-day training on the management and maintenance of the web portal.
As a priority to respond to public health concerns in the region, the Risk and Crisis Communication web portal serves as an essential tool for effective communication during emergencies and crises. Additionally, the portal aims to communicate cross-border risks and emergencies, provide timely risk and crisis information, empower the community to make informed decisions, counter misinformation, enhance transparency, and facilitate two-way communication between the EAC and Partner States. It is a crucial step in harmonising RCC between the national and regional levels and across sectors, enabling the EAC Secretariat to strengthen a multisectoral and multi-disciplinary approach to achieve better public health outcomes.
Speaking during the ceremony on behalf of the EAC Secretariat, Dr. Eric Nzeyimana, Principal Health Officer and Head of the EAC Department of Health, expressed gratitude to GIZ for their support in the portal's development, recognising it as an important milestone.
“This is a milestone towards achieving stronger risk and crisis communications in the EAC region. Ongoing support from partners is crucial for the continued success of the RCC work,” he noted. He reassured participants of the EAC health department's commitment to advancing the work on the RCC web portal.
Giving his remarks, the PanPrep Programme Manager, Mr. Burkard Koemm, emphasised the significance of the tool for sharing verified information across borders and relevant to various countries. He highlighted that the regional portal's primary goal is to enhance health outcomes in East Africa. Mr. Koemm stressed that the completion of the portal's development marks the beginning of actual work, specifically strengthening risk and crisis communication.
He noted the East African region's progress in developing the RCC web portal, positioning it ahead of other Regional Economic Communities (RECs) that are just initiating similar efforts. Mr. Koemm added that this success serves as a valuable learning experience for other RECs.
The GIZ PanPrep project supported the EAC Secretariat in the establishment, capacity development and onsite practical training for the multi-disciplinary expert working group on RCC, as well as the network of 30 multi-sectoral national RCC focal points.
Additionally, in 2022, PanPrep, working with UN migration agency IOM, conducted awareness creation activities in border communities to enhance health and hygiene protective behaviours and practices to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, reaching over five million people.
Find more information of the PanPrep project here.