President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) with WHO director general Tedros Ghebreyesus at State House, Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PSCU
WHO vows to support healthcare in Kenya
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has pledged to support Kenya in making Universal Health Coverage (UHC) a reality in the next five years. WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus pledged his support, even as he called for the putting in place of deliberate efforts to make UHC a reality as part of Government’s efforts to ensure Kenyans have access to quality healthcare.
The DG welcomed the fact that healthcare is part of the four pillars that President Uhuru named as the ‘Big Four’ within which his second term in office would be premised and to put the country on a further growth path. He said Kenya has so far made progress and WHO is further looking into ways that it can strengthen co-operation with Kenya as a regional hub.
Ghebreyesus, who is visiting Kenya for the first time since he was appointed WHO’s DG, made the commitment when he paid a courtesy call on President Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi yesterday.
Earlier in the day, Ghebreyesus paid Health CS, Cleopa Mailu a courtesy call at his Afya House office. Other pillars of President Kenyatta’s Big Four Action plan are increasing access to affordable housing, ensuring food and nutritional security and creating jobs for young people by expanding the manufacturing sector.
Ghebreyesus said his organisation is ready to partner with the government to enhance provision of healthcare as well as strengthen the country’s position as a regional hub in health services.
“I am looking forward to partner with you to improve health not only in Kenya but also in the region,” said Ghebreyesus. “As you know there is another good opportunity that has opened up recently as announced by President Uhuru on the four pillars.
UHC is one of the four pillars and is also a priority for WHO so during this trip we will discuss how we can partner to make it a reality,” he added. He pledged to work with the government to bring health experts to assist in the development of a model that will be efficient and effective in the provision of universal healthcare to Kenyans.
He said the other three pillars also contribute to the wellbeing and health of Kenyans hence WHO will discuss not only on UHC directly but also other determinants and how to partner and support Kenya.
“I’m glad to be back home, this is my first visit since i became DG and I am glad to start my visit from few countries including Kenya. We had a very good discussion with Mailu and we will see areas of cooperation we will have for the future,” he said.
Uhuru welcomed WHO’s support in delivering his Big Four plan, especially on boosting healthcare delivery for all Kenyans. He said he has laid down the plan and is set to implement it to ensure Kenyans have access to improved and affordable healthcare services.
“We have a relatively young population in Kenya and I see no reason why we cannot achieve our health target. But it is not just about access neither is it about infrastructure or management of the health systems. We are looking at ensuring that it is affordable and efficient, otherwise it will collapses,” said Uhuru.