Kenya and Portugal pledges deeper ties to improve respective health sectors

Kenya and Portugal have reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen collaboration in the health sector in the wake of sustained efforts by Kenya to advance the Universal Health Coverage agenda.
A meeting between Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and head of mission at the Portuguese Embasssy Luisa Maria Fragoso resolved to form a technical working team to explore areas of possible collaboration in the field of medicine.
“Kenya and Portugal have remained close, and the president’s intention is to entrench and expand the relations. EU remains a key multilateral partner while the individual member countries such as Portugal are key bilateral partners” said Kagwe.
The health CS said such ties would be central in sharing learned experiences as well as exposing health experts from the two nations to each other’s health systems.
“Whereas training in the advanced areas is welcome, we are especially keen on mid-level cadres. We should not forget that 90% of illnesses are diagnosed at primary care level and therefore those working in those areas need this exposure.  Besides, we need to focus on specialist fields such as oncology.” observed the CS.
According to Fragoso, there already exists different levels of collaboration between Kenya and Portugal in the health sector.
“We have a Kenyan nutritionist working on a program aimed at the reduction of Marasmus in Portugal while we have a Portuguese working with KEMRI on tropical diseases, research which demonstrates that people already know what they need” said Fragoso.
The meeting between Kagwe and Fragoso came ahead of a planned visit to Kenya by Portuguese head of state Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa which will be the first such visit since the two nations established diplomatic relations 45 years ago.
Portugal and Kenya are set to co-host the UN Ocean conference between 27th June to July 1st this year in Lisbon Portugal. Dubbed save our ocean, protect our future, the conference comes at a critical time as the world is seeking to address many of the deep-rooted problems of our societies laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic and which will require major structural transformations and common shared solutions that are anchored in the SDGs. To mobilize action, the Conference will seek to propel much needed science-based innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action.