The East African Community (EAC) is an intergovernmental organisation comprising five countries in the African Great Lakes region in Eastern Africa: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. It covers an area of 1,820,664 square kilometres (702,962 sq mi), with a combined population of about 149,959,317 (2013 est.) In 2010, the EAC launched its own common market for goods, labour and capital within the region, with the goal of creating a common currency and eventually a full political federation.
In 2013 a protocol was signed outlining their plans for launching a monetary union within 10 years. These political and economic developments provide a timely opportunity for joint initiatives that can promote health in the East African region. Vaccine preventable illnesses contribute the largest cause of under 5 morbidity and mortality in Eastern Africa.
The six conditions that account for about 70% of all child deaths in the Eastern Africa region include: acute lower respiratory infections, mostly pneumonia (19%), diarrhoea (18%), malaria (8%), measles, (4%), HIV/AIDS (3%), and neonatal conditions. ECAVI provides a much needed and timely initiative and platform for the promotion, research, education and advocacy for vaccines in Eastern Africa, in order to help reduce morbidity and mortality due to vaccine preventable diseases.