East, Central, and Southern African (ECSA) Health Community
In 1974, the East, Central and Southern African (ECSA) Health Community was established under the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. The organization was set up to promote regional cooperation in health. In 1980, the ownership of the organization was transferred directly to 14 member states in the East, Central and Southern Africa namely; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Mauritius, and Bostwana. The member states have a combined population of more than 190 million people, making ECSA one of the largest health organizations in the region. It focuses on the areas of capacity building, policy and advocacy, research and evaluation and information sharing.
ECSA’s Health Systems Development Program seeks to support and facilitate activities and initiatives that add value to and advance the ongoing process of strengthening the health sector in member states. The program has been involved in the development of a regional health care financing strategy, institutionalization of National Health Accounts in ECSA member states, development of a training program on health management and financing and facilitation of networking activities of the Regional Drug Forum.
Links to the health workforce crisis
ECSA’s Human Resources Development and Capacity Building Program was initiated in recognition of the growing human resources health crisis and the realization that without properly trained and motivated staff it is impossible to implement health policies. The focuses are Human Capacity Development, Collaboration, Networking and Strengthening of Human Resources Management and Leadership. The program also plays a role in strengthening policy development and advocacy. Some of the achievements of the program include: development of electronic human resources databases; study of regulation of Allied Health Professions in ECSA; and practice standards, competences and core content for education. ECSA has colleges without walls whose overall aim is to promote professional excellence and improve health services available to the people. ECSA joined the Alliance in 2007 as an implementing Partner.
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