The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is one of the regional intergovernmental organizations of the African Union Commission in the Horn of Africa, with a combined population of over 260 million people. It comprises eight member states: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Somalia, and South Sudan. The Horn of Africa experiences migration and cross-border mobility due to economic uncertainties and the fragile political environment. Most IGAD member states are low-middle-income countries with low health service coverage, high mortality and morbidity rates, and cross-border mobility often accompanied by the movement of diseases.
Health systems for the marginalized and vulnerable cross-border mobile populations in IGAD’s arid and semi-arid lands is often neglected and not regarded as a priority. These cross-border communities include people living in cross-border areas, mobile pastoralists looking for pasture, refugees, seasonal cross-border laborers, economically active people and undocumented migrants, and internally displaced people and their host communities. The health risks and consequences of communicable diseases and substandard, falsified, and counterfeit medical products among cross-border mobile populations is a public health priority for the IGAD region. To promote optimal health outcomes among cross-border mobile populations and the population at large, a holistic health system approach is required, taking into consideration cross-border health policy across sectors and borders.
The IGAD Cross-Border Health Initiative is committed to improving the life of people in the region, with the goal of improved life expectancy and prosperity through the strengthening of regional health systems.