The Executive Secretary of Inter-Governmental Authority of Development (IGAD), whose member are in the Horn of Africa namely, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, urges member states fight COVID-19 together. Below is his full statement of the newly appointed IGAD Executive Secretary, Workneh Gebeyehu-
“Over the past several weeks we have stood together and closely observed the rapid spread and significant impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world. It is important, now more than ever for us in the IGAD region to continue supporting each other as we fight this global pandemic. My thoughts and prayers are with our citizens in the IGAD region and every community around that has been affected by this novel virus. As the IGAD family we also express our sincerest gratitude to the heroic health workers and selfless volunteers that are risking their own lives, health and safety for the greater good of humanity.
As a regional organisation spanning 8 Member States and bringing together a community of 250 million citizens, IGAD is taking active measures to protect you as our staff members, your families and communities. I want to remind you that IGAD was founded in response to one crisis. Over the last 34 years, IGAD has stood firm against the many periods of crisis, instability and volatility that has affected our region. This crisis is no different from the ones we have triumphed over before and you have my reassurance that, we as the IGAD family are sufficiently resilient to overcome it.
I am very proud of how you have all become alert to the danger we face together but at the same time, you have refused to surrender to panic. My main focus right now is on keeping all of you as safe and in good health as possible so that you can stay focussed on our mission to make a lasting contribution towards sponsoring peace, strengthening security and spreading prosperity throughout our region. As employees of IGAD, you are the most valuable part of our organisation. You are critical to the success of IGAD and remain utterly indispensable to its existence. Without you, there is no IGAD.
At the moment, it is still too early to establish to what extent COVID-19 will affect our region. The world is also still in the learning phase of the most effective measures we can take to predict and prevent the spread of the virus. I urge you all to remain vigilant and closely adhere to the health and safety measures recommended by the authorities where you are. If you have any doubts on need further clarification, please contact the focal persons who have been appointed in your respective offices to provide updates and guidance.
I have established a special IGAD taskforce on COVID-19 that is collecting the latest information, learning and sharing best practices, developing policies and developing additional emergency response plans. This special taskforce is also providing regular updates through our various communications platforms including staff E-Mail, the IGAD Website, Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Here at the IGAD Headquarters, we have put in place robust continuity plans that will allow us to continue working with our partners to serve our fellow citizens and the Member State Governments. We are actively reviewing the response measures to keep up with the developments in the COVID-19 situation and to adjust our policies and operations accordingly in relation to official and personal travel, meetings and events as well as the cleanliness and hygiene protocols at our offices.
Most importantly, I encourage any employee who may have been exposed to the corona virus or is feeling ill to stay home and we are putting in place flexible work policies that will facilitate this method of working.
I have been deeply inspired by how you the IGAD Staff, our Member States and the World at large have come together to fight this pandemic. My office and all of IGAD is dedicated to supporting you through this unprecedented time. I will remain at my post at the IGAD Headquarters for as long as this crisis lasts in our region. Please stay safe and know that you can count on my office at all times for support. ay the almighty keep you, your families and your communities safe during this challenging time.