The EAC Partner States have made significant progress in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health especially during the era of the millennium development goals and are committed to sustaining and accelerating this momentum post 2015. Inequities among and within countries continue to persist in health outcomes, access to and coverage of high impact interventions. The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) framework, the EAC Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Strategy 2008-2013, relevant national policy and strategic plan frameworks fuelled progress in women children and adolescent health in the region over the last 3 decade. The momentum was accelerated even further over the last 5 years through global and regional instruments such as Global Strategy for Women and Children’s health; the UN Commission on Information and Accountability; the Commission on Life Saving Commodities for Women and Children’s Health; Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP); directives of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers, EAC Regional Programmes and Initiatives such as the Open Health Initiative which seeks to harness political momentum for women and children’s health and national interventions.
The 9th Sectoral Council on Health held in April 2014 directed the EAC Secretariat to expand the scope of the SRHR Strategic Plan (2008-2013) to include Reproductive Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) - (EAC/SCM-9/Health/Decision 067)7.The EAC RMNCAH Strategic Plan 2016-2021 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. It’s also grounded on the 4th EAC Development Strategy (2011/12 – 2015/16), which recognizes health as a key pillar for deepening and accelerating integration and the EAC Health Sector Strategic Plan 2015-20208. 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.
The Strategic Plan 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 is a summary of key global and regional commitments that have influenced progress in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health in the East African Community.