Healthcare reforms: Kenya and Denmark pledge further partnerships

           Denmark has pledged to support Kenya’s efforts aimed at improving the country’s health outcomes.
A meeting between health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe and Danish ambassador to Kenya Ole Thonke on Thursday resolved to evaluate various areas of collaboration aimed at augmenting the country’s health sector especially on primary healthcare.
According to Thonke, Denmark has already committed 2.4 billion shillings to support primary healthcare as well as equip level two and three facilities with requisite resources.
“We have an extra 1.2 billion shillings for the same targeting level one facilities who will work with community health workers. It’s a huge support for integrating level ones to the system, “added Thonke.
Speaking during the meeting, the health CS appreciated the support accorded to Kenya by Denmark saying it has gone a long way in improving health outcomes in the country. He said the support which included Covid-19 vaccines donation has helped the country implement a raft of measures that have significantly improved the delivery of essential health services.
The health CS said Kenya is ready to support multinational pharmaceutical companies set up their regional production units in the country.
“We would be happy to encourage Danish companies to establish here, and, we would support them in all ways. We have structured the micro and macro environment to support this. For instance, we reduced taxes and payments for manufacturers to encourage them to set up.” Observed Kagwe.
The health CS appealed to the Danish government to consider introducing exchange programmes for Kenyan healthcare workers on speciality training.
During the meeting, a memorandum of understanding between Kenya and Novo Nordisk, a Danish multinational pharmaceutical company to distribute and supply health commodities including support for the changing diabetes in children initiative, was discussed.
The initiative, that targets type one diabetes, is currently supporting 3,000 children up from 160 when the project kicked off ten years ago. According to Francis Njau, the company’s business unit head, Eastern and Southern Africa, sustainable support of the programme as well as diabetics supplies remain key in addressing emerging challenges posed by non-communicable diseases.
The health CS urged Novo Nordisk pharmaceutical company to consider local manufacturing for some of its pharmaceutical products saying the Covid-19 pandemic brought to fore the need to diversify production of essential products.
The development coming as the country steps up reforms within the health sector witnessing the launch of a host of mega projects including the setting up of the Kenya BioVax Institute tasked with manufacturing and commercialisation of specialised health products and technologies.

Just this month, President Kenyatta presided over the ground-breaking for the planned construction of a world health organisation logistics hub in Nairobi which is expected to build and support capacity in disaster management systems, as well as technical expertise besides prioritizing high profile disease-specific strategies and timely risk assessment in the region.
Kenya has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Moderna Inc, a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines, to establish the first mRNA manufacturing facility in Africa.