Skilled health workforce key to delivering Universal Health Coverage (UHC), says President Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta has emphasized the importance of well-trained health workers in implementing the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) pillar of the Big 4 agenda.

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The President stressed that qualified human resources are a key element of the health system that should not be neglected to meet the country’s health needs.

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“The latest technology and modern drugs are useless if the human element is substandard. Qualified, equipped, properly supported and well-trained health workers are essential to provide services to individuals and communities, whether preventive or curative.

“Indeed, the success of our efforts to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) depends in large part on the availability of a health workforce with the right skills and supported by the provision of accessible and affordable health care for all. . said President Kenyatta.

The Head of State spoke on Saturday while presiding over the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the AMREF International University (AMIU) campus at Ruiru Northlands in Kiambu County.

President Kenyatta said that while the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed UHC progress in the country by straining the health system, it has not halted efforts to achieve it.

At the same time, the President noted that Africa’s socio-economic success in the post-COVID-19 era must rest on restoring its health system, which relies heavily on health workers.

“…for this reason, there is a need to invest more in training and policy reforms within the sector to make up for lost ground,” the president said.

He noted that Africa faces a severe shortage of health workers compared to other regions, despite the continent bearing 25% of the global disease burden, according to estimates by the World Health Organization. health (WHO).

“This huge shortage has created an urgent need for at least one million community health workers and 350,000 midwives in sub-Saharan Africa, just to reach critical minimum levels.

“It should also be noted that millions of other existing health workers lack the necessary support, equipment and training to make them fit to fulfill their mandate,” the Head of State said.

President Kenyatta noted that the shortage of health workers in Africa has prevented nations from adequately responding to pandemics such as Covid-19, achieving health equity and meeting the health needs of population.

In this regard, the President said that the government has put in place a series of measures, including full support for the implementation of community health services as a platform for the provision of primary health care and the CSU.

Other measures include the establishment of progressive frameworks to improve working relationships between national and county governments and health worker unions, as well as the integration of community health workers (CHWs) into the health care system. general health. .

Likewise, the President expressed the Government’s commitment to increase domestic funding for community health as part of efforts to promote primary health care.

President Kenyatta has commended the AMREF International University fraternity for its ambitious expansion plan to increase the training of health workers in Kenya and across the continent.

He said AMREF’s 65 years of innovative and quality public and community health intervention and training have contributed significantly to improving the health sector in Kenya and Africa in general.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said AMREF has been a key partner in the continent’s quest to formulate a new curriculum to train health workers, noting that the new institution will be crucial in improving the organization’s capacity to deliver health care. quality training for health professionals.

“And I am happy, Your Excellency, that thanks to the cooperation of AMREF and the universities here present, we have made progress in preparing a new program on how we will train all our health workers in the times at KMTC, universities and all institutions. “, specifies the CS Health.

World Health Organization Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said his organization fully supports AMREF in its efforts to build another training institution for doctors and said the 65 years of service of AMREF in African countries have had a huge impact on the continent’s health sector.

AMREF Health Africa Executive Director Dr Gitahi Githinji said AMREF International University hopes to receive a letter that will enable it to train more health workers.

“We are going to launch an AMREF University Scholarship Fund to help young women from marginalized communities and fragile countries to come and study at this university,” Dr Githinji said.

The event also brought together the Head of Civil Service, Dr. Joseph Kinyua, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, and the Chairman of the AMREF Health Africa International Board, Charles Okeahlam, among others.

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Michael A. Bynum