he East Africa Community (EAC) Partner States have adopted the EAC Regional Electronic Cargo and Drivers Tracking System that will be hosted at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The system is expected to share truck driver’s information leveraging on the systems operated by Revenue Authorities in the region, and the existing health information systems in Partner States.
The system allows the users to share information across borders in a transparent manner, and the truck drivers will need to upload the app on their phones.
Continuous screening will be done at selected check points along the transport corridors, which have already been designated, and information made available for all Partner States.
Verification of documents will be done by customs, immigration, law enforcement agencies/ persons who will confirm if a particular traveler is fit to proceed on their journey.
The Digital surveillance tracker will interface and connect directly to designated laboratories in the Partner States to allow the Partner States, for purposes of COVID -19 laboratory results needed to generate the COVID-19 Test Certificates / attestation Certificates for COVID-19 test results.
A Joint Consultative Meeting of the EAC Ministers/Cabinet Secretaries of Health, Transport and EAC Affairs that was held via Video Conferencing on 29th May, 2020 agreed that the system will be supported by four (4) Command Operating Centres (COCs) located in four locations at designated national Revenue authorities in Kenya, Uganda, DRC and Rwanda, with one additional COC to be set up at the Nimule border post for the Republic of South Sudan.
The report of the Joint Consultative Meeting which was chaired by Rwanda’s Minister for Health, Hon. Dr. Daniel Ngamije, was signed by Partner States’ Heads of Delegation/Health Ministers, namely: Hon. Dr. Ngamije (Rwanda); Hon. Mutahi Kagwe (Kenya); Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng (Uganda), and; Hon. Elizabeth Achuei (South Sudan).
The Ministers/Cabinet Secretaries were further informed that the truck driver and crew members’ mobile phones will be used as the tracking devices once they commence their journey along the corridors, and command centres will be able to communicate directly with the drivers as long as the phones are not switched off.
Additional information and/or updates will be along all check points along the corridor and shared along the system.
The Ministers/Cabinet Secretaries also agreed to designate, provide, establish or ensure that the required key enablers for the digital system to work are put in place; the EAC Secretariat to fast track the implementation of the EAC Digital Surveillance Tracker; the EAC Secretariat to coordinate rollout of the existing EAC regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System to cover the Central Corridor, and; the Secretariat in collaboration with the Partner States and National transporters’ associations to sensitize key stakeholders on the EAC Digital Covid-19 Surveillance tracker.
The Ministers/Cabinet Secretaries further adopted the EAC COVID-19 Test Certificate for truck drivers and crew members.
The Ministers/Cabinet Secretaries were informed that a system has been developed to facilitate a common approach to certifying results of those tested for COVID-19, by using the system to generate a COVID-19 test certificate for drivers and crew members.
Consequently, the generated COVID-19 certificate for drivers and crew members who have undergone tests would be shared with all respective stakeholders both at accredited designated testing points and border crossing points in the region.
“This certificate that is recognised in the EAC is expected to be valid for 14 days, and would allow the owner to travel in the region without being subjected to re-testing unless he or she is found to have signs and symptoms for COVID -19, on screening at check points using the screening tool,” EAC secretariat said in a statement.
The Certificates will be issued only for those drivers and crew members that test negative for COVID-19. Those that test positive will be expected to follow existing national protocols to access care and other services.
The Ministers/ Cabinet Secretaries were further informed that the EAC Secretariat was planning to develop harmonised sensitization material/content that is to be disseminated in the region and customized by individual Partner States.
Further, the EAC Secretariat informed the meeting about resources mobilised for Risk and Community engagement to reduce the spread of COVID -19 in the region. The framework will be implemented by Partner States and partners including the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC).
The Ministers took note of the Framework for the regional sensitization and communication on COVID-19, and directed the EAC Secretariat to mobilizee more funds to support the implementation of regional sensitization and communication initiatives for COVID-19.
The freight forwarding and trucking industry in EAC has been advocating for a private sector led Journey Management System (JMS) that seeks to contribute to professionalization of the industry and incorporate driver welfare as well as being scalable in other countries.