African healthcare agenda on the right path with public-private partnerships

The first Philips Company  Community Life Centre in Kiambu County.Picture:Ken Ndambu
The first Philips Company Community Life Centre in Kiambu County.Picture:Ken Ndambu

A leading health technology company, Royal Philips has come on board to support Kenya and the United Nations (UN) initiative aimed at strengthening primary and community healthcare in Africa.

The company becomes the first private sector partner to establish a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Partnership Platform in the country for accelerating primary healthcare transformation in support of universal health coverage.

The unique platform will bring together executive leadership from government, development partners, private sector organizations and civil society to investigate opportunities for accelerating universal access to primary healthcare services.

Special focus will be given to addressing gaps in human resources, healthcare financing, essential medicines, medical supplies, health information, and the use of technology.

“The Government of Kenya is committed to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage. We are open to fostering partnerships that are dynamic and mutually beneficial and we foresee great potential in the SDGs partnership platform,” said Dr Cleopa Mailu, Health Cabinet Secretary.

Mailu said Philips will immediately provide support to the platform to start working on establishing a common fact-base on primary healthcare by assessing current and future healthcare needs, so that platform members can jointly identify, design and implement transformative initiatives in pursuit of its ambitions.

Mailu noted that Phillips will leverage on its in-depth clinical insights, global innovation capabilities and experience to sustainably deliver improved healthcare through partnership with national and county level stakeholders.

“You cannot achieve prosperity without quality healthcare, so we are excited to come on board and contribute effectively to the SDGs Partnership Platform on Primary Healthcare Transformation,” said Jasper Westerink, Chief Executive Officer Philips Africa.

“Philips is passionate about healthcare, because more than in any other sector, it has a direct and dramatic positive impact on the quality of people’s lives,” said Westerink asserting that “as a key stakeholder in the agendas and incentives to eliminate barriers to healthcare, access will be aligned”.

He observed that no single business, institution or government organization can solve the pressing issue alone and therefore the SDGs Partnership Platform underpins collective responsibility to ensure everyone has access to high quality affordable primary healthcare.

“We are excited about this ambitious new Partnership Platform. Everyone has a role to play in the delivery of the SDGs and partnering with responsible, innovative businesses such as Philips in that process raises our chances of becoming the first generation to end poverty,” reiterated Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Kenya.

Chatterjee said strengthening local healthcare systems is central to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 and hence the need to emulate Philips company that has been advancing primary healthcare in Africa for many

Years with a strong focus on mother and child care.

He observed that issues facing primary healthcare in Africa are complicated and multifaceted hence creating sustainable improvement will address a wide range of challenges collectively.

“Issues ranging from the unavailability of qualified healthcare workers and the lack of electricity, water and basic healthcare technology in many areas, to sustainability and a lack of reliable data need to be addressed,” reiterated Chatterjee.

In June 2014, in partnership with Kiambu County Government, Philips inaugurated the first Community Life Centre in Africa, an initiative that turned the local health facility into a community

Hub where technology is bundled with an integrated service package and empowerment interventions.

The initiative saw the total number of outpatients visiting the centre per month increase from 900 to 4,080. The number of children being treated quadrupled and the number of first antenatal care patients grew 15-fold while the number of fourth visit antenatal care patients each month grew 16-fold.

“The enormous success of the Community Life Centre pilot in Kenya is compelling evidence that such platforms, implemented in collaboration with governmental and private partners, can be replicated throughout Africa wherever deprived communities need a helping hand,” said Westerink.

He averred that the Company intends to contribute to the process of co-creating new solutions, new business models and meaningful partnerships to provide innovations that make an impact.

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