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.