ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for increased partnerships between national governments and the private sector in the provision of health services in Africa.
While acknowledging that health is critical to the continent’s economic growth, President Kenyatta said the partnerships between the private sector and national governments should be determined by specific country initiatives and not by loose arrangements where local efforts are not put into consideration.
“Plug into existing country initiatives because if you do that then you will benefit from government commitments,” President Kenyatta urged the private sector and development partners.
He commended the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and other donors who have plugged into the Kenyan health system and are actively working to manage the HIV/AIDS scourge.
“They have ensured that virtually every affected Kenyan today has access to anti-retroviral drugs. That is because of the partnerships that we have cultivated,” the President said.
President Kenyatta was speaking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, when he addressed an Africa leadership meeting on increasing commitments for health and accelerating the path towards Universal Healthcare Coverage.
“To me, the critical thing is partnership. The critical thing is working with national governments to ensure that we achieve this objective of Universal Healthcare for all,” President Kenyatta said.
He urged African governments to strive to end the vicious political cycles and embrace long term commitments that give the private sector the confidence and trust to invest in the health sector.
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“We will not be able to achieve our social economic agenda if we do not invest in health. It is critical that as governments, we pool our resources together, working in partnerships with development partners as well as the private sector to ensure that we achieve this ultimate objective of universal health coverage for all,” the President said.
President Kenyatta also expressed the need for African countries to come up with policies that support private sector investment in the health sector.
At the meeting that was chaired by the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and attended by business leaders and global health organizations, President Kenyatta outlined Kenya’s progress towards achievement of UHC.
The President said his government has partnered well with the private sector to deliver modern, state-of-the-art medical equipment to counties through a cost-effective and innovative Managed Equipment Service (MES) programme.
President Kenyatta said his government has launched UHC pilot programmes in the counties of Kisumu, Nyeri, Isiolo and Machakos as a demonstration of its commitment to ensure investments are made to enable Kenyans enjoy the highest attainable standard of health as enshrined in Article 43 of Kenya’s Constitution, Vision 2030, the “Big 4” development agenda and the global community’s aspirations as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We have rolled out the UHC programme in the four counties and we look forward to spreading out to the rest of the country,” President Kenyatta said.
During the meeting, leaders made pledges to scale up interventions in the fight against AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.
In their call to action, the leaders proposed that African ministers of health should be meeting frequently to discuss the health situation in the continent and report to the African Union Heads of State and Government summit