Over 90 delegates convened in Entebbe, Republic of Uganda as representatives to the Regional Population, Health & Environment (PHE) Symposium 2017 from September 27-28. A follow-up to the 2015 PHE conference held in Kisumu, Kenya, the Symposium’s primary purpose was to take stock of PHE policy and programming contributions in East Africa toward achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This Symposium, organized by LVBC in collaboration with USAID Kenya & East Africa, K4Health, and PRB was held under the theme: Enhancing Resiliency and Economic Development through Strengthened PHE Programming.
During the two-day symposium, it was evident that PHE programming has strengthened within the region and that stakeholders have been working hand in hand to achieve this. A number of policy decisions and strategies have also been developed with specific partners embedding various components to their PHE interventions. The East African Community (EAC) secretariat, for instance, has been working with Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) to develop a regional Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) Strategic Plan 2016-2021.
East Africa is determined to redeem some of its lost glories in terms of biodiversity, natural resources, population dynamics and the health of its people. These long-celebrated assets have been quickly dwindling due to changing human habitation patterns, deforestation, pollution, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, and introduction of invasive species. The region has also been confronting major public health challenges associated with an unusual triple burden of disease, high maternal mortality ratio, and child mortality rates.
During the symposium, PHE stakeholders and delegates deliberated around these issues and shared their experiences and challenges in their journey to strengthen programming, implementation, documentation, monitoring and evaluation, and policy making. At the end of the two-day meeting, the participants unanimously agreed to consolidate the gains and work even smarter to ensure sustainable and scaled-up PHE programming. The delegates committed to the following resolutions, which both state and non-state actors will implement:
- Identify and prioritize modalities for mainstreaming PHE into local, sub-national and national level policies, strategies and institutional frameworks;
- Adopt appropriate digital technological innovations to improve PHE Reporting, Monitoring and Evaluation at all levels;
- Establish governance structures on PHE at National, Sub national and Local levels;
- Develop and strengthen the institutional and technical capacity of state, non-state actors, and grassroots communities to implement integrated PHE activities at all levels;
- Promote cross-sectoral collaboration and partnerships for PHE and rally the call towards joint coordination and financing of PHE interventions;
- Promote meaningful participation of Women, Youth, People with Disability, indigenous local communities in PHE Programming in order to enhance their economic and decision-making capacity;
- Propagate for adoption of the PHE Approach as a key strategy for implementation of the post 2015 agenda or Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), promoting Climate Change Adaptation initiatives; and for achieving youth and demographic dividend.
- Adopt and integrate Knowledge Management and Communication strategies, approaches, and products that support PHE practice, policies, and advocacy. into PHE processes to sustainably influence change in attitudes, behavior and policy at all levels;
- Mobilize resources and conduct scientific research on the value addition of the PHE approach and its comparative advantage;
- Define clear indicators of PHE integration for national and sub-national level programming;
- The Regional PHE Symposium 2017 Resolutions will be implemented by various stakeholders across the region and these include state and non-state actors