The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to support Kenya in Achieving Universal Health Coverage besides continued Covid-19 support.
Speaking during a meeting with the Foundation’s Global Development Division, Dr. Christopher Elias, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said Kenya is already working on identifying areas for health cooperation especially on establishing Kenya as a pharmaceutical manufacturing hub as well as health workforce training.
He said the new areas of collaboration will include scaling up of human resources for health through trainings and exchange programmes, as well as opportunities of establishing manufacturing plants for medicines and vaccines in Kenya.
“We are grateful for the Support Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given the country during the pandemic. There’s a silver lining in this world, and Covid-19 informed some of the activities we are carrying out in UHC. From importing Personal Protective Equipment for medical workers, we are now exporters of the same” athe Health CS said further noting that the need for local manufacturing for the country and the region has led to interest by giant pharmaceuticals such as Moderna who are planning to set up one of the biggest factory outside US in Kenya.
The CS challenged the Foundation as funders to influence their beneficiaries to support local manufacturing of medical commodities by purchasing from local manufacturers. He noted that the country has moved to promote local manufacturing by extending tax relief through different measures to pharmaceutical manufacturers. He additionally said the manufacturing efforts will benefit from the setting up of logistics hubs in the country.
“We will also have WHO presence as who are setting up a logistics hub in the country meaning they will set a base for support to the region. We hope that Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be instrumental in supporting our efforts to become a pharmaceutical manufacturing hub. We hope GAVI and others will be acquiring commodities from local manufacturers”, added the CS.
Speaking during the meeting, the President of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Division said they are happy to follow the country’s journey in achieving UHC adding that the country is a pace setter in the region.
“We are happy to follow the progress made here, including the launch of UHC in February. I am taking time to learn from other countries and their journeys as well. Kenya is an example in the region and indeed some of the work we are doing in other countries such as Ethiopia is based on our lessons here in Kenya,” said Dr. Elias.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been financing various projects in the country through Gavi, Global Fund and the Global Financing Facility. These projects focus on vaccines, immunization, reproductive health and now UHC. Other areas of focus is Agriculture with Agra, one of their key partners, headquartered in the country.