7th East African Health and Scientific Conference and International Health Exhibition and Trade Fair, Dar es Salaam - Tanzania

The 7th EAHSC was held from 27-29 March 2019 at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre. It was jointly organized by the EAHRC, the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC) of Tanzania Mainland, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Zanzibar and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania. The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) was the conference Secretariat. A National Steering Committee and seven subcommittees led the preparations.

1. Message from the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania

H.E Samia Suluhu Hassan informed the audience that she was witnessing first-hand the enthusiasm of EAC to drive efforts to promote the rapid technological and digital transformation to support the implementation of health sector interventions and programmes, which is surely a step in the right direction towards the attainment of SDG 3 and universal health coverage. Investing in the health sector and relevant digital technologies are key for a development that EAC needs to pursue more aggressively as a region. There is the need to invest in digital health technology cannot be understated if EAC is to fully implement the sustainable development goals and address all aspects of poverty.

Tanzania understands the importance of digital health and has already embarked in digitizing its healthcare system through the Ministry of Health and several agencies. The approval of the Digital Regional East African Community Health (Digital REACH) strategic plan by the 16th Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health is an important step towards achieving transformation in the sector. Also, I would like to reiterate that effective implementation of this regional initiative depends not only on good coordination from the East African Health Research Commission but also on strong commitments of EAC partners states, development partners and every health sector stakeholder in partner states. EAC development partners should continue their support to the EAHRC, and EAC partner states to implement and coordinate this initiative. EAC partner states have to support the Digital REACH development and work together through digital health technology, reiterating the commitment of the United Republic of Tanzania to take advantage of digital health technology to improve implementation of health sector interventions, with the aim of accelerating attainment of the universal health coverage and SDGs. Although, there is the challenge of a trained workforce skilled in using digital health solutions and the need for proper governance and funding, among others. To overcome this challenge there is a need to take an interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral approach, bringing together all the main actors in the digital health ecosystem such as international organizations, health service institutions, academia, research centres, and public and private industry. In addition to the East African Health and Scientific Conference, the East African Health Research Commission has established new platforms meant to share research findings in the region, to build research capacity and to create a better environment for research on health matters. I would like to congratulate all representatives of EAC partner states in the Commission and the EAHRC Secretariat for these tremendous achievements and encouraged them to keep up the speed and the commitment.

H.E Samia Suluhu Hassan

The Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania

2. Message from the EAC Deputy Secretary General

I would like to thank the United Republic of Tanzania for hosting the 7th EAHSC. Also, I would like to reiterate the commitment of the EAC Secretariat to continue supporting the EAHSC. EAHSC is convened in the fulfilment of the resolutions of the EAC recommendations and relevant Treaty provisions of the establishment of the EAC (article118) with regards to regional cooperation and integration in the health sector and the resolutions of the 12th Ordinary Session of the EAC Council of Ministers in 2006. The theme of the 7th EAHSC which is the technology for health systems transformation and attainment of the UN-Sustainable Development Goals and noted that during this millennium, the world has witnessed how ICT can revolutionize socio-economics matters and that digital health technologies are increasingly being used in health care to improve health services and delivery.

The research findings carried out in EAC about health technologies will be shared and symposia will be held and all followed by constructive expert discussions; expecting that relevant and realistic recommendation, for the improvement of health care and delivery through the application of technologies for the improvement of the health and the well-being of citizens of the Community, will be suggested.


Engineer Steven Mlote

EAC Deputy Secretary General

3. Message from the Executive Secretary of the East African Health Research Commission

I am honoured to welcome all participants to the 7th EAHSC and recalled that the EAHSC is a biennial event hosted on a rotational basis by EAC partner states. The conference is convened as part of the regional cooperation in health in line with article 118 of the treaty of establishment of the EAC. EAHSC enhances the ideals of the EAC that are the free movement of people, services and goods. The main theme of the 7th EAHSC is the technology for health systems transformation and attainment of the UN- Sustainable Development Goals. The theme has attracted more than 200 relevant abstracts for the presentation from the region and outside the region which will be presented and discussed during plenaries, parallel and interactive sessions and during symposia. It comes at a time when the region has developed various strategies to incorporate digital technology and solutions into health. However, at the same time the region is cognisant of the fact that there is more to be done both at the national and regional level if the region is to realise the transformational power of digital health. The millennium has presented to the world with intensified health threats such as health threats associated with globalisation, climate change, the resurgence of deadly disease outbreaks, and change of disease patterns. It is therefore imperative that novel and transformative tools are needed in health. Ebola outbreak in west Africa revealed how weak Africa health system still is, and how vulnerable all of the world is, when there is a disease outbreak at any one place of the universe, but more importantly it revealed the compelling need for regional and global joint approaches and the pivotal role that digital technology can play in real-time for an effective control of disease outbreaks. The conference therefore is another opportunity to share experiences and review current strategies for scaling uptake and utilisation of digital health in the entire health sector for better health services and outcome. The East African Health Research Commission, which became operational in 2015 coordinates the East African Health and Scientific Conferences. The 7th EAHSC is the second conference to be organised by the Commission. The audience that during previous conferences, the Commission launches various health-related initiatives; initiatives which are sustainable and have broader socioeconomic impact to EAC. There are seven initiatives that will be launched during the 7th EAHSC. The EAGLES’ Forum was launched on 26th March 2016; the forum allowed government officials, members of parliaments and judiciary system to discuss priority issues in health and gain consensus and collective approach on how to address them. Other initiatives will be launched by Honorable the Vice President of Tanzania: the 10-year Digital REACH Strategic Plan whose mission is to maximise the power of digital health by ensuring the enabling environment and infrastructure, and by implementing scaled, coordinated, transformative, and innovative approaches in heath; the official launch the EA Web Portal on health, which is the official compendium of health information in East Africa; and also thee launch the Young East African Research Scientists’ Forum, which is a forum that mentors the next generation health leaders and scientists. The EAHRC also will launch a book of abstracts on Digital Health in East Africa, a compilation of research and evidence on use of ICT in health in East Africa; the second EAHRC journal called East Africa Science, a journal that promotes science and innovation in East Africa whose editorial team is formed by the YEARS; and the report of the 6th EAHSC, which is comprehensive and provides the necessary details associated with organisation of the EAHSC in general and will be a useful tool for organising future EAHSC conferences. I would like to use this opportunity to thank all who have contributed in many ways to make the event happen, the host nation, the URT through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and EAC and through the Ministry of Health, the EAC partner states, the development partners, private sector, sponsors, health professionals and all stakeholders. Also, I would like to thank Her Excellency the Vice President for joining scientists to mark this important regional integration event.

Prof. Gibson Kibiki

Executive Secretary – EAHRC

4. Message from the Chair of the 7th Conference

As a Chair of the 7th EAHSC, I would like to welcome all the participants to the conference and conveyed a special appreciation to Her Excellency the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania for accepting the invitation and sparing her very valuable time, to come and officiate at the opening of the 7th EAHSC. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all dignitaries, guests and participants to the conference and to Dar es Salaam, the Haven of Peace. The conference whose theme is “technology for health systems transformation and attainment of the United Nations sustainable development goals “has attracted participants from many countries from within and outside the EAC region. The total of 193 papers were expected to be presented including 5 plenary sessions, 16 parallel sessions and 20 interactive sessions. In addition to these sessions there will be five symposia that are linked to the main theme of the conference where presentations will also be made and discussed. Several experts in the field will discuss the various presentations and generate recommendations that will inform the implementation of the East African Digital Health initiative for better research for health, health services delivery and health outcomes in the region and beyond. This event is the culmination of an enormous collective effort, which began in early 2018 when Tanzania was selected to be the host for the 7th EAHSC. Since then, several public and private institutions and individuals have contributed in one form or another towards the organization of the Conference. On behalf of the conference organizers, to express appreciation to all who supported the organization of the 7th EAHSC, especially the Government of Tanzania; EAC partner states; the East African Health Research Commission Secretariat; the national and regional steering committees; development partners; public and private institutions and organizations. I would like to thank all participants and exhibitors for having so generously devoted time to ensure that the preparations for the Conference have been successfully undertaken.

Professor Eligius Lyamuya

Chair of the 7th EAHSC

5. East African Health and Scientific Conference & International Health Exhibition and Trade Fair

The East African Health and Scientific Conference & International Health Exhibition and Trade Fair was approved by the 12th Ordinary Session of the EAC Council of Ministers in the year 2006, to be convened in East Africa and hosted on a rotational basis by the EAC Partner States through their respective National Ministries responsible for EAC Affairs, the Ministry responsible for Health, and other relevant institutions and bodies, and in close collaboration with regional and international health-related NGOs, civil society organizations, individuals, and other stakeholders in the region. The first East African Health and Scientific Conference (EAHSC) was hosted by the Government of the Republic of Uganda, in March 2007 on the theme “Responding to Health Challenges in East Africa”. The second was hosted by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania in March 2008 on the theme “Addressing poverty and health in East Africa: Challenges to meeting the Millennium Development Goals” and the third was hosted by the Government of the Republic of Kenya in March 2009, on the theme “Climate change, Environment and Health”. The 4th EAHSC was hosted by the Government of the Republic of Rwanda from March 31 to April 2 2013, on the theme “Regional Health Priorities and Opportunities: Evidence for Action in the Changing Global Financial Situation”. The 5th Conference was hosted by the Republic of Uganda from 25th - 27th March 2015 under the theme “Investing in health through strengthening regional health systems, and institutions towards the prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases”. The 6th EAHSC was hosted by the Government of the Republic of Tanzania from March 27th - 29th 2019, on the theme "Technology for Health Systems Transformation and Attainment of the UN- Sustainable Development Goals".


6. Objectives of the 6th EAHSC

1. Main theme

Technology for Health Systems Transformation and Attainment of the UN- Sustainable Development Goals.

2. Sub-themes

  • Sub-theme 1: Technologies supporting data for health system decision-making
  • Sub-theme 2: Technologies for Disease Surveillance, Disease Outbreak Detection and Response, and Cross border mobility and disease tracking
  • Sub-theme 3: Innovative technologies and solutions for application in, and improvement of healthcare service delivery and health outcomes
  • Sub-theme 4: Costing and Financing Health: the role of Digital Health, International Remittances, Universal Health Care, and EAC status on the UN-SDGs
  • Sub-theme 5: Health knowledge management through digital technologies and solutions in East Africa: health research, training, and care


3. Symposia

  • Role of Government in providing a robust enabling ecosystem for scaling uptake and utilization of technologies in health: leadership, policies, regulation, and enabling environment for digital technology and solutions in health
  • Status and gaps in Digital Health in the region: readiness of the health sector to transition to Digital Health, and the health workforce to embrace technology. Capacity for data analytics, and responsible data practice
  • Regional role: harmonization, standardization, interoperability, responsible data practice, privacy, security, investment in technology for health, scaling uptake and utilization of technologies, and regional digital health implementation initiatives
  • Public Private Partnership (PPP): role of private sector and development partners; investment opportunities and win-win investment cases; cooperation between health and ICT sectors; enabling ecosystem for investment. Utilization of locally available minerals, raw materials, and other resources for digital health industrialization.