By Samuel Ouma
Kenyan opposition Chief Raila Odinga on Sunday, April 26 said that the outbreak of Covid-19 has revealed how healthcare systems in Kenya and Africa at large are deficient. Overhauling systems to avoid over dependence on foreign donors is one of the lessons that must be drawn , says Mr Odinga.
In a series of tweets, the African Union High Representative for Infrastructure development noted that the country is not doing well when it comes to innovation in the healthcare. He called for strengthening of Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) to match the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Covid-19 has badly exposed our deficient healthcare infrastructure, indicating that we have only concentrated on prevention and cure. With covid-19, one person left to own devices is too much for everyone,” said Odinga.
“Let us question the dominance of US CDC (Centre for Disease Control) over KEMRI and its equivalents in Africa and seek ways to make these institutions independent, more attuned to Africa’s needs,” he posted.
The former Prime Minister reiterated that National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) needs strongest backup to provide quality medical cover to Kenyans.
“How to ensure everyone is able to pay for healthcare in a situation where one mismanaged infection can bring down a nation is a matter Africa must confront with urgency,” he insisted.
The ODM party leader asserted that Africa must review its healthcare system in order to evade over dependence on donor funds.
“When donors are overwhelmed in their own countries as is the case now, we are left badly exposed. Kenyatta University students have challenged us that with encouragement from government and private sector, innovation for healthcare can be done here, by us,” he said
A group of students at the university developed ventilators to help in the fight against covid-19. President Uhuru Kenyatta commended their efforts.
“Kenyans are showing they can invent and innovate… knowing our character is key to building our confidence to solve even more challenges that face our people,” said the President.
The invention was done by 16 students in less than one week. They said the idea came when they realized there are shortages in the country and the government could not import due lockdown imposed by several countries.
As of April 26, Kenya’s confirmed cases stood at 355.