Second International Conference on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Africa
Kenya proudly hosted the second international conference on maternal, newborn and child health in Africa themed “Maintaining momentum and focus towards ending preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030 – Sustainable path towards Africa’s Transformation.” The conference was held at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi from 29th October to 31st October 2018.This conference that brought together different health stakeholders from across Africa and was opened by the first lady, H.E Mrs. Margret Kenyatta, republic of Kenya.
In her opening remarks, she welcomed delegates and guests from different nationalities and further applauded the ministry of Health and the African Union Commission for the efforts made towards a reduction of Maternal and child mortality. “57% of maternal mortality happens in Africa of which 6,000 happens in Kenya. Kenya demands affordable and safe maternal health services. Let us applaud the role and efforts made by the community health workers and skilled health workers.” H.E Mrs. Margret Kenyatta. She further said that the conference is very timely and looks forward to it’s fruitfulness as Kenya has prioritized affordable health as one of the big four agenda.
“This conference has come at a point where there is a lot of issues happening to the women and children. However, We need to work together to bring out the health Agenda to fruition, this will see the achievement of sustainable development goal and further achieve the transformative goal in Africa.” Her Excellency Amira Elfadil Mohammed, Commissioner for Social Affairs African Union.
The conference was also grace by the Cabinet Secretary for Health Mrs. Sicily Kariuki, Principal Secretary for foreign affairs Mr. Macharia Kamau and first ladys’ from different counties across the country. Call for partnerships was key as discussed and reiterated by majority of the key speakers. This was a call to work together and combine efforts and ideas among the Ministry of Health and associated Ministries, private health sector and Non-Governmental Organizations, so as give a solution not only to lower Maternal and child mortality, but also to end it.
In her remarks, the Cabinet Secretary for health Mrs. Sicily Kariuki, applauded the county governments for their efforts in reducing the maternal and child mortality especially fighting against early child marriage thus encouraging education to girl child. She thanked the first lady Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta for her effort in improving accessibility to maternal health services through beyond zero initiatives. “I urge county governments to continue in improving maternal and child health.We need to intensify efforts to keep girls in school. We are glad that the government has prioritized women, children and adolescent health.” Mrs. Sicily Kariuki Cabinet Secretary for Health.
“ Everything that drives peace between each other, between nations and organizations, is based on how we treat each other.This begins at the family level.We need to invest in good health for the mother and child and this should start at the community level.” Mr. Macharia Kamau, Principal Secretary for Ministry of foreign affairs.
“According to a research carried out in March 2018, majority of Kenyans support devolution in health this is very encouraging and gives hopes of a collaboration towards achieving affordable health. Counties have plans of improving nutrition as one of the solution towards ending maternal mortality, however, there are challenges to achieving this and we must collaborate” Dr. Mohammed Kuti, Governor, Isiolo County.
Dr. Amit N. Thakker, Chairman, Kenya Healthcare Federation represented the private health sector on a panel discussion on ‘What Africa needs to stay on track towards ending preventable maternal ,newborn and child death by 2030.’ “We believe that a woman is at the centre of the family, community and above all at the centre of economic growth in Africa” Dr. Amit N. Thakker, Chairman, Kenya Healthcare Federation. Dr. Thakker further informed the attendees that the private sector will focus on four areas including; Supply chain-this will ensure the support local manufacturers through which there will be a reduction of cost of medicines once implemented. Innovations and Technology – the private sector is ready to provide innovations and technology this has been done in India, Kenya and South Africa ranking third .The challenge facing this is how to get the innovations to the market. Human Resources for Health – there is need to recognize the role of the auxiliary health workers and community health workers, in this the private health sector will also concentrate on capacity building.
“Majority of maternal mortality happens at the health facilities, and less has been done in edu-informing people on the reproductive health a major concentration paid on the uterus. This should be at the core of discussion. Majority of maternal deaths occurs as a result of three delays including; delay in decision to seek care, delay in reaching care and delay in receiving adequate health care. However, in order to address maternal mortality, we need a strong health workforce, sufficient equipment and supplies, order and accountability.” Prof. Khama Rogo, Lead Health Sector Specialist, World Bank.
Ms. Faith Muigai, Director, Kenya Healthcare Federation moderated the panel session on ‘the role of private sector in advancing Reproductive, Maternal,Newborn and Child Health(RMNCH) Agenda’ Kenya Healthcare Federation was well represented in the panel discussion by Dr. Jaqueline Kitulu, director – Kenya Healthcare Federation Ms. Ivy Syovata – Philips East Africa, Dr. Peter Kamunyo, director – Kenya Healthcare Federation and Dr. Walter Obita ,director – Kenya Healthcare Federation. Major areas that were highlighted in the discussions were; Strengthening of the human resource especially in the area of capacity building, map out the distribution of health workers especially the specialists, identify the areas in need of health workers, training the health workers on how to handle equipments, role out financing models that is affordable and that covers the under privileged, training on emergency care should be carried out on the health workers. It was noted that there is less family planning facilities and supplies therefore supporting local manufacturers of drugs will see a reduction on the cost thus making the supplies more affordable.
“We need a central mechanism to map out numbers and distribution of all health workers both public and private .This is the only way that then we can plan as a country to recruit ,train and retain a motivated workforce that can equitably be distributed leveraging on all workers in all sectors to provide the much needed quality healthcare to the public. A health service commission is such a body.” Dr. Jacqueline Kitulu, Director, Kenya Healthcare Federation.
There was a unanimous agreement from different nationalities that the private sector, should partner with the ministry of health in sharing best practices, best innovations and technology and share best evidence based research. “We need to agree on partnerships through this there will be support on innovations and technology. for example maternal death prevention technology that can be used by the midwives. Philips East Africa have come up with mobile obstetrics monitoring , a technology that can be used by community health volunteers once trained.”Ms. Ivy Syovata, Philips East Africa.
Basing the discussion on best practice and successes observed in Zambia, Malawi and Liberia a major solution that was discussed in a parallel session on strengthening community plat forms for primary health care, was ‘Trust’ primary health care has been successful in the three countries through the efforts by the community health workers. They are trusted with health advocacy, communication and sensitization, they are trusted with handling health technology and medical equipments such as blood pressure machines.
6th Healthcare Management Conference
The 6th annual Healthcare Management conference, organized by Medic East Africa, took place at Kenyatta International Conference Centre ,Nairobi, Kenya from 25th to 27th September 2018.The conference had three different themes for each of the three days. The first day’s theme was “From vision to Action – Reinforcing Healthcare Systems in East Africa, the second day was “The Role of Clinical Officers in the Implementation of Universal Health Coverage” and the third day’s theme was “Quality and Access under Universal Health Coverage”. The objective of the forum was to drive the region towards a health leadership infrastructure that is focused on perfomance and is held accountable for delivering on specific health system goals.
The conference brought together over 150 exhibitors from 18 countries. The first day conference was moderated by Dr. Amit N. Thakker, Chairman, Kenya Healthcare Federation. In his presentation, he emphasized that the key barrier to reinforcing healthcare systems in east Africa are; geographical and financial. Dr. Thakker informed the attendees that over 85% of Kenya population do not have any form of a cover and rely on out of pocket. 50% of the population do not have an access to primary healthcare and this set back results from poverty. He called upon all healthcare workers in attendance to come out strongly in health advocacy because unfavorable health outcomes such as maternal mortality are increasingly becoming a daily occurrence. Dr. Thakker further urged the attendees to capitalize technology, which is in itself revolutionizing daily.
“We need to adopt auxiliary health workers and also strongly recognize community health workers for the big role they play in health. The ministry of health should have considered hiring the specialists that we don’t have instead of employing what we already have because this doesn’t help in filling the identified gaps in the workforce. The BIG 4 Agenda is supposed to ensure creation of job opportunities and 5% of the jobs are expected to come from the health sector. Therefore I call upon the public and private health sector to operate in harmony to see great job creation and ensure good service delivery.” Dr. Amit Thakker, Chairman ,Kenya Healthcare Federation.
Dr. Andrew Mulwa CEC-Health, Makueni County informed the attendees that some of the challenges in the county level towards achieving Universal Health Coverage are: lack of healthcare workers i.e. the recruitment and retention of human resources for health is very low. This is because most of the specialists that are required in the counties, are mostly concentrated in the urban areas. Finance is an important factor affecting access to quality healthcare and is challenge because most of the population does not have a formal employment therefore cannot purchase or contribute to medical cover plans. This leads to over reliance on out of pocket expenditure. He however added that recruitment and retention of the health workers should match the county’s economical abilities.
Dr. Janet Muriuki, Deputy Chief of Party/ Technical Director – Intrahealth International was in attendance and said “We need to motivate the health workers, to help in reducing immigration. Assessing the reason for immigration, creating a favorable environment for them to work and giving them a good remuneration will also help in retaining the health workers. However, there is low distribution of health workers where majority are concentrated in the urban areas. Question is, are we taking training where it is needed? Are the specialist deployed where they are needed? This should be the initial stage in gap analysis. Technology should be a vital tool in this .This is because it can display the gaps in the human resources and distribution of health workers and track the training of health workers i.e. who needs long term training and who needs short term training. Therefore it’s important to deploy specialist where there is deficiency and not where there is a surplus.” She emphasized that the health sector needs to employ workers who are fit for purpose and the health workers should ensure they are safe in their working environment. This would serve as one of the solutions for curbing immigration of health workers. According to world health organization(WHO),the ratio of health workers to the population per county should be 23:10,000 in Kenya whereas the current ratio is still low as we stand at 13:10,000. Dr. Muriuki noted that the counties with highest health workers deficiency are Isiolo and Wajir.
Ms. Faith Muigai, Regional Director, SafeCare, Pharm Access Foundation reiterated that there is need to need to shift attitude and create a good environment for patient care. We also have to change the narrative if we want to see good service delivery. However, she noted that there is poor or lack of infrastructure to enhance this. There is no independent body that checks the health workers performance thus there is no competition that would drive quality of service delivery. Ms. Faith said that more health facilities should be accredited and the accreditation system need not be a pass or fail model but one of incremental growth. In conclusion, Ms. Faith mentioned that data is required to drive transparency and accountability, that there is need to leverage on public private partnership so as to drive the quality agenda, and finally that there is need to invest in proactive and responsive versus reactive solutions.
Some of the major concerns that were raised from the audience were: there should be an assessment carried out on why there is poor distribution of health workers and even lots of immigration observed among the health workers and come up with a solution. There should also be a safe working environment for the health workers because some of the equipment and medication used exposes them to the dangers of contracting infections or even developing other health conditions. There was a recommendation that the health workers should be trained on disaster management even as we assess the training needs in the healthcare industry. Participants expressed unanimous consensus that there should be capacity building among the leaders to enhance accountability on financial management and on performance of healthcare workers. The policies created should also speak to each other.
The 6th annual Healthcare Management conference was a success bringing together a wide representation of stakeholders. The presenters provided key insights into the challenges and opportunities in the healthcare industry while the audience contributed engaging and thoughtful questions and remarks. If these ideas were implemented, we would expect to see the healthcare industry change for the good of all Kenyans! We look forward to the next conference
Second Universal Health Coverage Conference in Nyeri
Kenya Vision 2030 delivery secretariat in partnership with Ministry of Health (MoH), Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF), Amref Health Africa, Kenya Cardiac Society, Council of Governors, NCD Alliance Kenya, Kenyatta University and Nyeri county health department organized the second Universal Health Coverage Conference held at Green Hills Hotel, Nyeri County from 11th – 12th September 2018. The conference sought to address the non – communicable disease (NCD) challenge to the country and was appropriately themed “Universal Health Coverage for Sustainable Development – Transformative Solutions to Halt and Reverse the Non-Communicable Disease Epidemic”
The conference was graced by several dignitaries: Her Excellency Dr. Carol Karugu, Deputy Governor, Nyeri County; His Excellency Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Governor, Kisumu County; His Excellency Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, Governor, Makueni County; Dr. Julius Muia EBS, Principal Secretary, State Department for Planning; Dr. Racheal Kamau, CEC Health, Nyeri County.
Rev. Samuel Njenga of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa opened the conference with prayer and thereafter giving a brief address. He said that the church has a vital role to play in advocating for and sensitizing the people about good health.
Dr. Kamau welcomed participants and thanked the organizers for choosing Nyeri County to host the conference, adding that she looked forward to fruitful deliberations. “Nyeri County is facing a high burden of NCDs. We need to change our ways of practice and take up the challenge” she remarked. Thereafter Dr. Kibachio Mwangi, the Head of NCD unit at MoH highlighted the key objectives of the conference which were: Understand the NCDs challenge; outline the role of private sector in addressing NCDs; outline the role of consumer organizations in protecting the public from sale of harmful products; and outline the role of government, civil society and the youth in addressing NCDs. Dr. Mwangi emphamphised that NCDs are not purely a health agenda, but require a multi-sectoral approach incorporating sectors such as transport, education and agriculture particularly in prevention measures.
“We should put health first; unfortunately what are addressing is a result of our choices such as what we eat. Good health plays an important role in boosting the economy, reducing poverty, increasing education and boosting investment” Dr. Julius Muia said in his address to the conference.Preventive measures against NCDs took center stage in the deliberations. It was appreciated that more focus needs to move to prevention as we continue in disease management interventions.
The consensus on the way forward included creating awareness, education of the public and preventive measures against NCDs, adoption of a multi-sectoral approach, utilizing Public- Private Partnerships and supporting local pharmaceutical manufacturers to make medicines affordable and strengthening the supply chain. “Managing NCDs is very expensive. If we truly want to make UHC achievable, we need to address the issue of cost. If we reduce costs we’ll be able to expand the care. The biggest PPP opportunity in cost reduction is in supply chain”, said Dr. Peter Kamunyo, Director, Kenya Healthcare Federation.
Further, there was consensus that community health volunteers (CHVs) should be officially entrenched in the health system. It was recognized that CHVs play a very critical role in NCD public sensitization. It was agreed that NHIF be strengthened, that it should cover preventive health checks and that it should ensure that the poor and vulnerable are covered. The country should strategize on addressing the poor availability, lack of affordability and inadequate resources as barriers to UHC. Young people should be informed and sensitized on NCDs so they can act as role models to their peers in NCDs prevention. NCD education should be incorporated in the school curriculum.
A patient representative at the conference made an appeal to the health sector to address survivorship of NCDs, a phase of management that insurance doesn’t cover. She highlighted that cancer patients are usually deserted by friends and family after diagnosis due to the burden of their disease on their loved ones. “We are left alone. It’s time for medics to inform us how we can survive after diagnosis of an NCD like cancer. This way trauma can reduce and a patient can accept the situation, love on themselves and even achieve their goals. The price of medications is usually very high and almost unaffordable. Patients get financially drained while trying to get medication”, said Elizabeth, a cancer survivor of nine years.
Professor Nyong’o called on stakeholders to identify areas of inequity in health care, and strategize on how to fill the gaps. “Counties don’t have a strong primary healthcare system, the aim of UHC is to strengthen primary healthcare” said Dr. Karugu, while Prof. Kibwana called upon all pilot counties to learn from each other as a way achieving UHC uniformly, further adding that CHVs will play a big role in rolling out UHC, particularly in educating communities.
The conference was well attended attracting 400 delegates drawn from both public and private health sectors. There was representation from national government, county governments, World Bank, the United Nations office in Kenya, Non-governmental organizations and youth organizations. KHF was represented by the chairman, Dr. Amit Thakker, directors Dr. Peter Kamunyo and Dr. Daniella Munene, Dr. Joy Mugambi, deputy Secretary General, Kenya Medical Association (all panelists), as well as several KHF members who attended as delegates. A number of KHF member organizations sponsored the event.
Kenya Healthcare Federation sets foundation for Ethiopia Healthcare Federation
The Ethiopian Private Health Sector organized a committee, to visit Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF) on June 6th – 8th 2018, with the aim of meeting with the secretariat and member associations of Kenya Healthcare Federation as recommended by the World Bank consultant. The main objective was to interact with their experience and gain knowledge on how to organize and structure the anticipated Ethiopian Healthcare Federation,that will be the voice of the Non State Actors (NSA) in the health sector. The Ethiopian team met with various KHF members including Kenyan Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI), Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK), National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK), Kenya Medical Women’s Association (KEMWA) and Kenya Medical Association (KMA).
KAPI was represented by Dr. William Mwatu, Dr. Francis M. Karanja and Dr. Eva Amwayi who introduced themselves to the Ethiopian delegation as one of the pioneer associations to be established in the pharmaceutical sector. It plays a great role in safe – guarding the interests of its members by getting involved in policy drafting and implemention. It also has implemented a self-regulatory system within its member institutions which has played a key role in a fostering a close working relationship between its stakeholders and public sector. It’s financial sustainability is guaranteed through membership contributions, projects supported by partners such as; the World Bank, IFC, Netherlands embassy as well as Public – Private Partnership (PPP) programs in the sector. The association’s membership is voluntary and open to institution in the pharmaceutical sector that subscribes to KAPI’s code of ethics.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) was represented by their CEO, Dr. Daniella Munene, Dr. Munene introduced the 58 year old organization to the Ethiopian delegates, informing them that PSK seeks to promote ethical practice and promote continuous professional development (CPD) amongst it’s members. She went on to explain that PSK membership is drawn from members working in private, NGO and public sectors provided they are registered by regulator, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board. The society provides CPD to members, requiring them to attain a certain number of CPD points annually for renewal of membership. PSK membership is in turn a mandatory requirement for annual licensure by the regulator .
This constitutes a self – regulatory model which goes a long way in curbing malpractice and gives the society leverage in enforcing membership. The National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) was represented by their President, Mr. Alfred O. Obengo. He informed the Ethiopia delegation that NNAK fifty years old and one of the strongest members of the KHF due to it’s numbers. The association functions in all 47 counties of the nation. At grass root level, the local branches of the association deals with the local county administrative organs. The national association has a seat at KHF where it presents the issues that are not solved at the county level. This is the key benefit cited by Mr. Obengo that NNAK has gained from being a member of KHF. He further elaborated that KHF has contributed a lot to the Universal Health Coverage(UHC) agenda of the country, as the government has identified private sector as missing link in UHC – realization. Other benefit of KHF membership as mentioned by Mr. Obengo are networking and – new business opportunities its members. NNAK also provides a CPD program to its members, who must demonstrate that they attained the minimum number of CPD points at the time of annual license renewal.
Dr. Christine Sadia, National Chair of Kenya Medical Women’s Association (KEMWA) introduced her association to the Ethiopian team, informing them that the association has a strategy known as “From Womb to Tomb” that focuses on women, encouraging them to take care of themselves in the midst of their demanding dual roles of home makers and health professionals. Membership is open to all healthcare professionals. Their members are also members of their parent Kenya Medical Association(KMA).KEMWA has a program that supports their members to go back to school to further their education. Dr. Jacqueline Kitulu, President, Kenya Medical Association(KMA), welcomed the Ethiopians and explained that KMA has a very strong voice in KHF as it is also represented in the Board of Directors.
The Ethiopian delegates were later invited for a dinner meeting by COSMOS Pharmaceuticals where, Dr. Dawit Moges expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome and hospitality given by KHF Secretariat, In addition, he applauded the advocacy work being done by different Healthcare Associations in Kenya saying, “As a pioneer in the region KHF has accomplished lots of impressive deeds that should be taken as exemplary and should be considered to be installed in ours. The Ministerial Stakeholder Forum” and the “Presidential Round Table” could be the first milestone that should be given emphasis while drawing the roadmap of the long journey of Ethiopia Healthcare Federation. Openness to all health associations for membership and revenue generation through projects can also be emulated” He concluded.
Kenya Medical Association (KMA) at 50 years
Kenya Medical Association (KMA) is a voluntary membership organization open to all medical and dental practitioners, registered in Kenya. KMA was founded in 1968 and currently has close to 3000 members. The Association main objective is to champion the welfare of doctors and quality healthcare for all through continuous professional development and advocacy.
At 50 years, KMA prides itself in tranceeding specific objectives as follows; tremendous growth in promoting the practice of medicine in Kenya, upholding high standards of medical ethics and conduct, advicing the Government, other medical bodies and the public at large on health matters, promoting the welfare of doctors, maintaining the honor and interest of the medical profession, supporting continuing professional development (CPD) through periodic publications, seminars and scientific conferences and liaising with medical associations around the world.
Through KMA’s remarkable performance in advocacy and good working relationship in the East African region, Federation of East African Medical and Dental Associations (FEMDA) was birthed in which KMA is an active member.
KMA was proud to host its 46th Annual Conference and celebrate its 50th anniversary from 18th – 21st April 2018 at Nyali Sun Africa Beach Hotel & SPA in Mombasa. The official opening ceremony was conducted by Dr. Peter Cherutich representing Health CS Mrs. Sicily Kariuki on 19th April 2018.The theme of the conference was “Healthcare Financing Towards Universal Health Coverage” this brought together 365 delegates from 5 African countries and representation from world Medical Association and students both local & International. The conference was closed on a dinner celebration to mark 50th Anniversary.