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.
Annual Africa Health Business Symposium 2018 focuses on achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Africa
Africa has recorded a high increase in health expenditure over the last two decades with an associated increase in out-of-pocket expenditure for primary healthcare services. Access to quality healthcare plays a key role in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) and boosting economic growth. Integration of UHC as a goal in the national health strategies of African countries is becoming increasingly critical as the continent continues to bear the highest disease burden, an increasing population and lack of a strong health workforce to meet healthcare demands.
Africa Health Business Limited held the 3rd Africa Health Business Symposium dubbed AHBSIII at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Johannesburg , South Africa from 8th – 9th October 2018. The two day conference was themed “Achieving UHC in Africa: Stronger Together.” The conference brought together more than 300 delegates from over 50 countries, majority being African. A major expectation for the attendees was learning from various countries’ experiences in implementing UHC and the various policies and financing mechanisms required for UHC to be achieved.
The South Africa minister for health Dr. Pakishe Aaron Motsoaledi opened the conference by welcoming the attendees to South Africa. He further thanked the AHBS team for choosing South Africa to be the host country for the third annual Africa Health Business Symposium. In his opening remarks, he said “The concept of achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2022 is important. We should aim at reducing the burden on health systems in Africa”.
H.E. Amira Elfadil Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union, said the public sector must work in unity with the private sector and commit to improving health outcomes for all, not just the middle, upper – middle and elite classes that the private sector mainly serves. “Universal Health Coverage, will help us narrow gross inequalities among people who require access to quality healthcare and affordable medicines.”
“Implementing Universal Health Coverage is only possible when we train local skills and bring in the right medical equipment. The private sector is well positioned to launch such initiatives through Public – Private Partnerships or tailored agreements” Dr. Mohamed El Sahili, CEO Medland Health Services.
Dr. Amit N. Thakker, emphasised that quality should be the foundation and basis of UHC. “Quality is the right treatment for the right person at the right time. The private sector has the opportunity to provide care more cost- effectively”, said Dr. Thakker, the chairman of Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF).
There was an emphasis on strengthening public-private partnerships for achieving UHC. Intra Health CEO, Mr. Pape Gaye, emphasised that leveraging PPP in Africa can help achieve UHC especially establishing the right human resource capacity.
Key pointers discussed as a way forward were: PPPs, human resources for health, as well as quality and affordable medicines. There was unanimous agreement that African governments should consider working through PPPs to strengthen health literacy and health systems to increase access to quality health services and improve on financial protection schemes.
UHC can be achieved through learning from experiences of countries that have successfully implemented or are in the processes of successful implementation of UHC. Learning and adopting evolving innovations will give better ideas of effective healthcare models that are tailored to each country’s needs. Diversified approaches will create the road map to significantly expand the number of people covered by risk pooling arrangements, with substantial benefits to health care, optimizing resource use, maximizing results and “leaving no one behind.”
Dr. Toda Takao, Vice President, human security and global health – Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) – spoke of his own country’s post-World War II experience in implementing UHC. He said that it was the key economic driver to the country’s recovery from devastation by the conflict. Takao emphasized these three points: UHC is a nation-building issue, UHC is a pre-condition to economic growth and UHC must involve all stakeholders in the process or it will neither be achieved nor sustained.
Kenya Healthcare Federation was proud to partner with Africa Health Business Limited (a KHF Member) in making the event a success. KHF was represented the chairman Dr. Amit Thakker and two directors namely: Dr. Daniella Munene and Dr. Anastacia Nyalita. There were other KHF members who attended and exhibited at the event, including Corvus Health, IntraHealth International, Amref Health, General Electric and PharmaAccess Foundation. In his closing remarks, Dr. Thakker applauded the conference as remarkable, fruitful and very informative. “We celebrate three key successes borne out of the symposium: Meaningful interaction and engagement with dignitaries, tangible progress on unification of the private sector in South Africa under a federation with good will from the Department of Health, and a commitment from the private health sector to support African Union to achieve Agenda 63.
Many delegates visited a General Electric (GE) medical innovation center that features the latest high-tech ultra sound scanners, infant incubators and other ultra modern medical equipment. GE considers this center as part of a solution toward African development by fostering home-grown solutions. This includes an education and training center where expert healthcare providers train rural, community-level healthcare workers who are usually mostly untrained in the use of new technological advancements. There was unanimous agreement that the next AHBS (AHBSIV) will be held in Ethiopia.
The forth Speakers round table
Kenya Private Sector Alliance(KEPSA) held the forth speakers round table meeting at Leisure Lodge, Diani, Ukunda, on the 5th October 2018.The Speaker’s Roundtable (SRT) happened between the National Assembly and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and is one of the high level Public – Private Dialogue(PPDs) that was formed and formalized under the 10th Parliament. In her opening remarks, Ms. Carole Kariuki, KEPSA CEO, thanked the speaker and members of the National Assembly for the engagement with the private sector. She noted that KEPSA makes efforts to meet parliamentarians once elected, to enable them understand the private sector and continue engaging through parliamentary departmental committees to provide input into key policies and legislations.
Ms. Kariuki further noted the government’s focus on the Big 4 Agenda and emphasized on the need to work together to achieve the ambitious plan in the shortest time possible. She called for a change in tact and a need to re imagine Kenya through legislative partnership. She added that to spur manufacturing competitiveness, some of the underlying impediments that need to be resolved include; reducing energy costs, curbing proliferation of illicit trade and cheap imports, removal of IDF (Import Declaration Form Levy) and RDF (Railway Development Levy) on industrial input and machinery as well as enhancing prompt payments to suppliers. Through partnership with the National Assembly, she expressed optimism of achievement of the Big 4 Agenda.
The Speakers’ Round Table, under the leadership of the Speaker Hon. Justin Muturi, had some key areas of focus ranging from policy to revenue management to engagement with the private sector engagement. To note a few, the agenda included outlining recommendations and strategy for the conclusion of the list of policies, laws and regulations in the areas of revenue generation, debt management and effective taxation. They also sought to enhance the quality of policy and governance to facilitate a conducive business environment to create jobs and wealth in order to bring inclusive prosperity. Further, the Speakers’ Roundtable aimed to increase uptake and adoption by parliament of key private sector recommendations on the legislative agenda as identified by private sector and to increase coordination between the legislature and private sector on legislative agenda needed to drive the Big Four development agenda and to unlock private sector investments.
The National Assembly Speaker Hon. Justin Muturi applauded the crucial role played by the private sector in the economy as the engine of growth, creating jobs, paying taxes and providing essential goods and services. He said that interactive planning and decision making processes would be needed to support the private sector participation in development and foster partnerships strategies that combine skills, resources and ideas to stimulate the economy, enabling it to respond innovatively to national and global economic changes.
The speaker noted KEPSA’s continued provision of a unified voice for the private sector and maintaining focused efforts to create impact on wealth creation and social economic development. On the other hand, the SRT would provide an opportunity to highlight the key issues affecting public and private relationship and give the National Assembly a chance to identify areas of intervention to create an enabling environment for private sector development and increased investment. It would also act to enhance oversight of the executive to ensure all budgetary proposals are scrutinized and implemented as approved with ensure integrity, ethical values and the rule of law as well as promoting action-based best practices like corporate social responsibility, conservation and protection through prudent use of the country’s natural resources
During the breakout sessions, there were major discussions on universal health coverage (UHC) conducted by Hon. Sabina Chege, the chairperson of the Health Parliamentary Departmental Committee. Kenya Healthcare Federation was represented by Mr. Anthony Jaccodul, Vice Chair of the Health Regulations, Quality and Standards Committee. In his remarks he said that provision of universal health care in Kenya will not only accelerate progress towards vision 2030, but will also lead to realization of Sustainable Development Goal 3 of ensuring healthy lives and promotion of well- being for all the ages. There is therefore need for a whole systems’ approach in the delivery of UHC Mr. Jaccodul also presented KHF’s position statement on which includes; UHC should be implemented and monitored basing on quality indicators that can be measured by accredited Health Standards for Quality, Facilities to adopt both nationally and international accepted patient safety and quality standards e.g. Kenya Quality Model for Health (KQMH), Safecare, Joint Commission International (JCI),The sole government agency handling quality that is KENAS needs to be brought on board to ensure quality of care conversation does not get lost, KENAS would accredit conformity assessment bodies to implement various standards available in the industry, This would also provide a space for continuous quality Improvement, National Hospital Insurance Fund(NHIF)restructuring regulations to various sections of the Health Act 2017 should be drafted and guidelines adopted to ensure this moves in tandem with UHC.
The discussions were rich, informed, and resulted in several recommendations. There is need for a holistic approach to Universal Health Coverage. In addition to financing , we should focus on human capital, better health infrastructure, value chain efficiency, lower cost of medical equipment, standards for health services delivery and enhanced access to quality healthcare, policy on harmonization of pricing of health services to be developed and a review of work schedules in public hospitals to tackle the problem of shortages. There would also be need to evaluate of the Managed Equipment Service Program by the MOH to establish reasons why some of the critical equipment are lying idle and that the NHIF coverage in schools should be standardized to cover all students in both public and private schools including issuance of the NHIF card. The Hospital referral system should be strengthened to the lower tier county run hospitals to reduce burden on Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. It’s important to strengthen the private sector for curative healthcare while public sector focus on preventive and promote health services. A health summit for all the health leaders including the Health Parliamentary Departmental Committee, Governors, County Executive Members and the private sector was proposed.
The legislative recommended the fast tracking of the Health Laws Amendment Bill 2018 ,by the house business Committee to the committee of the whole house. This bill will promote local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to tackle influx of illicit trade in Kenya. National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) Bill to be brought to Parliament soonest so as to address governance issues i.e. separate accreditation and financing role of NHIF, Issues of quality management should be assigned to Kenya National Accreditation Service (KENAS) to accredit healthcare facilities and Ministry of Health MOH to oversight policy, Ministry of Health to fully operationalize the Health Act, Review Insurance Regulatory Act to increase uptake of private insurance in addition to the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and Finance Committee to review the public finance management Act to ensure that health finances are ring-fenced exclusively for health services only and avert diversion.
Seventh East Africa Healthcare Federation Conference
Ethiopia hosted the 7th annual East Africa Federation conference at Africa Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa from 9th to 10th July 2018. The conference is held annually and hosted in turns by EAHF members Kenya Healthcare Federation, Uganda Healthcare Federation, Rwanda Healthcare Federation, Burundi Healthcare Federation, Tanzania Private Health Sector and Ethiopia Private Health Facilities Employers Association. Last year’s conference was hosted by Tanzania Private Health Sector in Dar-es Salaam Tanzania.
The theme of the Addis Ababa conference was “Revolutionizing Healthcare through Digital Technology in Africa”, with the objectives as; to enhance the progress of healthcare in the region through technological advancements, to bring private sector stakeholders and policymakers under one roof to discuss means to achieve health and health related sustainable development goals and to engage in high level discussions on public private partnerships (PPP). The conference was graced by His Excellency Dr. Amir Aman, Minister of Health for Ethiopia, and senior officials from the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
In attendance were multi-lateral and bi-lateral development partners, such as USAID, CDC, international development organizations, and international institutions including the AU. From the private sector, international investors, CEOs, as well as medical directors of hospitals and medical universities were in attendance. In his opening remarks, the conference director Dr. Dawit Moges, of Sister Akelesia Memorial General Hospital said “ The primary goal for this conference is to bring together global leaders, policy makers, health professionals and investors as well as friends and partners of healthcare from around the world in an open dialogue, under one roof to discuss the issues facing the sector and to develop possible strategies on how the private sector can become aware and more engaged in initiatives taking place in public – private partnerships (PPP).
In her welcome address, the president of The East Africa Healthcare Federation, Ms. Zelealem Fisheha noted that “Access to good health is a right for all; each and every one of us wants to live in good health and healthy conditions; but it is a right that a lot of citizens in East Africa still cannot enjoy today. Ms. Fisheha expressed that “Using digitization, we will push through a paradigm shift in healthcare. From being expensive, reactive, and system – oriented, we make healthcare abundant, proactive and patient focused”.
Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF),Chairman Dr. Amit Thakker thanked the private health sector team in Ethiopia for hosting them and for the great advocacy role they are doing. “The biggest challenge in achieving equitable healthcare across our continent is the lack of information sharing between all stakeholders. High quality of knowledge exchange about all healthcare requirements and activities is the first step towards strengthening the quality of policies and regulations that form the bed rock of robust national programs. Hence it is critical to focus on dialogue and strong partnerships between the government and private sector at the national, regional and continental level.” Said Dr. Thakker. The two-day conference brought together over 400 participants as well as a number local and international exhibitors.