The African Leadership Meeting
The African Leadership Meeting was held in Ethiopia on 9th February 2019.The main agenda was “commitments for investments in the health sector across the continent with an emphasy on the importance of partnerships in order to grow the healthsector. The leadership meeting was co-organized by Africa Health Business.” Dr. Amit N. Thakker, Chairman Africa Healthcare Federation, emphasized that deepening private sector integration within the African health system is non-negotiable. He urged the government leaders to embrace the private sector and improve both Public-Private Dialogue and engagement in the respective African countries through the Ministries of Health. Countries that practice this openly have already shown positive results Dr. Thakker said this while moderating a panel session themed “Domestic Financing for Health, Effective Partnerships and Private Sector Engagement”
H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, acknowledged that investments in health were integral to achieving the social economic agenda and that it was necessary to build partnerships to achieve Universal Health Coverage. The Kenyan President urged other leaders to create an enabling environment for the private sector in order to build confidence and attract investments into health systems.
It was stressed that the health sector is a viable investment area where the return on investment is substantial such that investors can expect between 9 – 20 times the level of investment. The meeting led to increased commitments of US$200 million from both public and private health sector and donor governments (Higherlife Foundation, The Government of Ireland and the Government of France), to end epidemics and achieve Universal Health Coverage.H.E. President Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia, called on the African leaders to bring hope and opportunities to the people of Africa through transformational leadership Investments in healthcare would improve the quality of life across the continent and allow African populations to lead full, productive and prosperous lives. She emphasized that investments in healthcare underpin national development. Mr. Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, urged immediate action in order to end epidemics and meet health targets.
It was suggested that African Ministers of Health should meet more frequently to work together on the health status in the continent and report their progress to the AU Heads of State and Government Summit. In this way, African governments can learn from initiatives across the continent, identify synergies that unlock efficiencies and collaborate in relation to continental priorities. African leaders urged their counterparts to focus on improved efficiency in order to strengthen national health systems. For the private health sector, the meeting was received as a key step towards acknowledging sustainability and private sector efforts towards health outcomes. The meeting was an important platform to build on Public Private Dialogue, create awareness and commitments in relation to investments in healthcare in Africa and urge the African leadership to create an enabling environment for business. This shall lead to a stronger private health sector which can further contribute to economic development and goals towards achieving Universal Health Coverage in an efficient and affordable manner.
TERUMO BCT opens a branch office in Kenya
TERUMO BCT a global leader in blood management, blood safety, therapeutic apheresis, cell therapy and cell collections. Terumo, opened its first office in Sub-Saharan Africa in Gigiri, Kenya on 7th February 2019. This happened after the company was recently listed in a recent industry report as among the world’s top players in the blood bank market. Dr. Jackson Kioko, Director for Medical Services (DMS), Ministry of Health, who also officially opened the new company, graced the ceremony. The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health (Kenya) Mrs. Sicily Kariuki in her speech that was read by the DMS, Dr. Kioko, applauded TERUMO BCT for the great achievement and for choosing Kenya as their base in Sub-Saharan Africa. She further said that the partnership is very timely as Kenya is working on making Universal Health Coverage a reality and blood and blood products are key.
Officials from the Japanese Government and TERUMO BCT emphasized that their decision on choosing Kenya was informed by Kenya being a high recipient of Official Development Assistance (ODA), an agreement that was signed during Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD6). The conference focused on “Advancing Africa’s Sustainable Development Agenda – with a major theme as promoting resilient health system for quality of life.” Kenya’s prioritization of healthcare by driving the health agenda as reflected in the BIG 4 Agenda further incentivized their move.
As a company, TERUMO BCT will apply three strategies through it’s partnership in Kenya: Create awareness, Capacity building and training of blood bank technologists and professionals and Use of advanced technology & systems. The company officials emphasize that they will proudly share their knowledge and experience in blood safety and blood bank.
Through sharing of knowledge and expertise, the company will contribute towards saving lives especially mother and child, achieving Universal Health Coverage and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Kenya Healthcare Federation engagement with Meru County
Kenya Healthcare Federation held the initial county stakeholder engagement with Meru County Health Officials to discuss the establishment of Meru Medical Care. The meeting was held on 10th January 2019 at KHF offices. The engagement with the county was very timely because KHF has set a goal to establish county stakeholder engagements. The Governor, Meru County, has laid a plan to establish Meru Care that will ensure all households have medical cover. The cost of Meru Care is proposed to be ksh. 2,000 per household annually.
Meru County has a population of 1.56million people with 2000 health workers, which gives a ratio of health workers to population at 1:780. Meru Level 5 Hospital is the main teaching and referral hospital and has specialists. The county has one Level 5 hospital, 15 Level 4 hospitals, 25 Health Centres, 157 Dispensaries and 76 Pharmacies.
Dr.Githu Wachira from the Ministry of Health-Non-Communicable Disease Unit, Meru County, said that Meru County is leading in the burden of NCDs with Gastrointestinal Tract (GIT) cancer being very common. He further said that research is ongoing to determine the trigger factors for the GIT cancers. Trauma is the second leading cause of NCD morbidity with a major cause being assaults. Dr Lillian Karoki, Director of Medical Services, Meru County informed the meeting that the total county health budget received from treasury is Ksh. 3.2 billion. She further said that 85% of the total population can afford to pay National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) subscription; the challenge is they do not keep up with the monthly contributions thus bringing the current active NHIF membership to as low as 7%.
KHF was pleased with the vision of Meru County as regards their health agenda. KHF advised that the County should explore ways to increase revenue for the health facilities to make them self-sustaining. Commodity management is important in ensuring that limited resources are used appropriately and loss through pilferage is minimized. Given that 85% of the population can afford NHIF, the County could establish the Meru Care to target the medical needs for the needy. KHF further advised the County to consider licensing Meru Care as an official scheme with transparency in revenue collection, revenue allocation, benefits, beneficiaries and provider management. This would enable the scheme to purchase healthcare services and products competitively. It was also proposed that the County share their proposal for Meru Care with KHF who can assess the benefits package for validity and sustainability. KHF expressed willingness to assist Meru County with advocacy and lobbying to justify the budget for Meru Care and to bring the vision into fruition.