Over 80 business executives from the East African Community recently met in Kampala to discuss and exchange views on health opportunities and challenges arising from the implementation of the Common Market Protocol.
During the two-day conference, business leaders highlighted that HIV/Aids has become a stumbling block to the bloc’s growth as it robs the region of professional human resources, adding that it’s a serious concern that requires immediate attention.
Addressing the conference which carried the theme, “East African Business Community, Investing in Health for a competitive and prosperous region”, Rwanda’s head of delegation, Clemence Murekatete, urged the conference to come up with solutions to the problem.
“We have come to discuss issues concerning HIV and health in our region because we have discovered that this problem has tremendously affected the private sector, thus negatively impacting on the region’s development,” she said.
“We have to create awareness about the HIV issue in our region so that they can know that this is an issue they need to consider a great deal.”
“At first we thought that the problem was supposed to be fought by our governments, which is not the case. It’s high time the business community intervened so that we can eliminate this tragedy”
Lillian Awinja, Senior Advisor on HIV and Health to the East African Business Council, stressed that member states need to harmonize health policies to ensure regional advocacy, continuity and sustainability of care if the Common Market is to be a success.