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Museveni Holds Teleconference with IGAD Heads of State on COVID-19 Response

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The leaders of the Intergovernmental Dialogue on Development (IGAD) member states have on Monday held a teleconference to discuss a response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that is ravaging the region.

All the eight IGAD member states except South Sudan have recorded cases of the deadly Coronavirus with Kenya having the highest tally at 50.

According to a press release by President Yoweri Yoweri Museveni’s press team, the teleconference was attended by presidents; Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, Abiy Ahmed Ali, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Mohamed Abdullahi of Somalia, Abdallah Hamdok, the Prime Minister of Sudan and Riek Machar, the Vice President of  South Sudan.

Speaking at the meeting, Museveni expressed solidarity with the different nations battling the Coronavirus, but was upbeat that there will be a solution.

Museveni highlighted the different measures Uganda has put in place since recording its first case and encouraged other leaders to follow suit but cautioned against injuring the production sector.

The IGAD leaders’ discussion focused on the regional response strategy to the pandemic, establishment of the IGAD emergency fund, mobilizing support from the international community, and mobilizing support from the IGAD medical professionals in the diaspora.

The press release says that the IGAD leaders also expressed grave concern about the pandemic, which has constituted an unprecedented global health crisis affecting the health and economies of the world.

They collectively agreed to formulate a comprehensive regional response strategy and an accompanying implementation plan to address the pandemic in the region. The members agreed to strengthen the IGAD response mechanism for responding to the outbreak of the pandemic diseases through increased capacitation of regional disease surveillance and early warning response system.

They leaders in the IGAD region further agreed to the establishment of an IGAD emergency for the control and prevention of pandemics to which they called upon the international community to render support to.

On the matter of mobilizing support from the international community, the leaders, called upon international financial institutions, bilateral, regional and international partners especially the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank to accelerate debt relief processes and provide access to financial assistance, concessionary loans and essential support to the member states and secretariat.

The meeting also hailed the efforts and initiative of the chair of IGAD, The members also welcomed the intervention of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed to mobilize international support for the IGAD region and the generous donation of medical supplies, laboratory testing kits and personal protective equipment from the founder and Director of the Alibaba Group to African Countries including IGAD member states.

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