The Partner States made significant progress in Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) during the era of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and are committed to sustaining and accelerating this momentum as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Agenda. Inequities among and within countries continue to persist in health outcomes and access to and coverage of high impact interventions. The MDGs framework; national RMNCAH policy frameworks; the EAC Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Strategy (2008-2013); the Global Strategy for Women and Children’s Health (2010); Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP); directives of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health, Programmes and Initiatives such as the EAC Open Health Initiative fuelled progress over the years.
The EAC integrated RMNCAH policy guideline derives its mandate from article 118 of the treaty for the establishment of the EAC, which calls for regional cooperation in Health among the Partner States. Other Articles of the Treaty that have important and specific relevance to the RMNCAH Policy are: Article.87 on joint financing of regional initiatives; Article. 102.2 (a) on coordination of human resources development policies and programmes; Article.104.3. (h) on the establishment of common ethical guidelines for research; and Article. 105.2. (e) on the adoption of internationally accepted quality standards for food processing.
It is also grounded on the 4th EAC Development Strategy6 (2011/12 – 2015/16), which recognizes health as a key pillar for deepening and accelerating integration and the EAC Health Sector Strategic plan 2015-20207. The EAC Development Strategy identifies strengthening and integration of sexual and reproductive health, adolescent health, child health and maternal health and rights policies and programmes as one of the key areas of intervention. It is further aligned to global and Africa regional commitments and initiatives to which EAC partner states are signatory such as the global strategy for women, newborn, children and adolescents 2016-2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Table 2 below summarizes key global and regional commitments that have influenced progress in reproductive maternal newborn and child health in the East African Community. The proposed EAC Regional Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health policy guideline (2016-2030) is aligned to these goals and the mission of the Community to improve the quality of life of its people.