Ministry seeks public- private partnership deals to help close gaps in primary health care


Health Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Cleopa Mailu revealed that plans are underway to establish four cancer centers strategically located across the country using the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mechanisms.

Data from the Kenya Network of Cancer Organizations has found that Cancer is the 3rd highest cause of morbidity in Kenya, 7 per cent of deaths per year, after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. Kenya records 39,000 new cases of Cancer each year with more than 27,000 deaths per year, 60 per cent of Kenyans affected by Cancer are younger than 70 years old.

The leading type of Cancer in women is Breast Cancer, found in 34 per 100,000 patients, Cervical in 25 per 100,000 patients. Among men, the most prevalent form of Cancer is Prostate, evident in 17 per 100,000 patients, followed by Esophageal, which is found in 9 per 100,000 patients. Seventy to 80 per cent of cancer cases are diagnosed in late stages due to lack of awareness, inadequate diagnostic facilities, lack of treatment facilities, high cost of treatment and high poverty Index. There are only four radiation centers in the country and they are all located in Nairobi – KNH, MP Shah, Nairobi Hospital and Aga Khan.

The CS said there are valuable opportunities in partnering with the private sector to bridge the gap in health system strengthening adding that Kenya Public Private Partnership (PPP) targeting Primary Health Care has taken off with the implementing of the seven year USD 380million Managed Equipment Services.

“We exploring now other health system domain like service delivery, digitization, hospital management and community health service delivery systems as potential areas to partner with the private sector in order the foster and improve Primary Health Care,” said Dr. Mailu.

The Cabinet Secretary, however, acknowledged that despite significant investments in the public health sector, health systems challenges such as inadequate human resources, health care financing, essential medicines and medical supplies, the burden of communicable and non-communicable conditions, inadequate and poorly equipped health facilities still persist.

“In Kenya the nurse and doctor ratio to 100,000 population is 165 and 21 respectively. This ratio is still low considering the dynamic unidirectional nature of health workers migration,’’ said the CS.

He was speaking at the primary health care side event at the UN Headquarters during the UN Assembly.

To address the challenges, Dr. Mailu revealed that the government has outsourced distribution of commodities to health facilities which is now coordinated through the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).

To ensure human resource development, “We are now supporting students undertaking courses in private training institutions as an effort to bridge the human resource gap. In particular, the Ministry together with the private sector has established a revolving fund ‘FUNZO’ through the support of USAID to support students joining middle level healthcare training institutions,” he added.

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