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Uganda’s Museveni rallies East Africa
to invest in health, infrastructure       

KAMPALA (Xinhua) -- The East African Community Heads of State retreat on infrastructure, health financing and development opened on Thursday in Kampala with President Yoweri Musveni challenging his counterparts to invest more in the health sector and reduce expenditure on importing drugs and treatment abroad.

Museveni said the region was spending millions of dollars on transporting patients, especially to India, as well as importing raw materials that are used by pharmaceuticals locally.

“In this regard, we need to learn and apply lessons from emerging economies such as India, whose total healthcare industry revenue is expected to increase from 110 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 to 372 billion dollars in 2022 in response to deliberate investments in telemedicine, manufacturing of medicines and health technologies, medical tourism, health workforce training and risk pooling/health insurance, among others,” Museveni said.

Themed under “Deepening and Widening Regional Integration through Infrastructure and Health Sector Development in the EAC Partner States”, the summit is being attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania and Salvar Kiir of South Sudan. Rwanda and Burundi sent representatives.

Despite an increase in life expectancy for the people in the region from 51 years in 2005 to 61 years in 2016, Museveni said several health challenges need to be addressed.

“There is a growing burden of non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancers; high prevalence of communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis; maternal, neonatal and nutritional complications; road and other accident related injuries; epidemics such as Ebola, marburg and even resistance to antibiotics,” Museveni said.

Museveni also hinted that there was need for the EAC countries to develop infrastructures such as roads, railways and ICT in order to boost regional trade.

“While the rest of Africa continues to register slow growth, EAC is the fastest growing region. This is partly due to solving this bottleneck of communication by investing heavily in infrastructure.” he said.


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