By Samuel Ouma
Kenya has challenged WHO Member States to redouble efforts to build greater resilience in national health systems as a global public good.
Addressing the 75th World Health Assembly on Monday, health Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe said more effort must be made to strengthen health systems at the community level to make them fit for the intended need, and use of the Universal Health Coverage agenda as envisioned by Sustainable Development Goal number 3 on good health and well-being is to be actualized.
“As one of the Pandemic Treaty proponents, Kenya calls on the WHO Member States to redouble efforts to build greater resilience in national health systems as a global public good. This ties in with the theme for this year’s Assembly, “Health for Peace, Peace for Health,” observed the health CS.
At the same time, he called on the meeting to support multilateral organizations to promote local manufacturing of pharmaceutical products and commodities.
“This fact is reinforced by the experiences faced during the COVID-19 pandemic that exposed weaknesses in global health care systems. The global community must therefore invest in the health workforce, specialities and strategic commodities that address their needs and purpose,” Kagwe told the forum.
According to Kagwe, Global Fund, GAVI, and other key players should purchase their commodities from the local manufacturers.
“The COVID-19 crisis exposed the glaring inequality of research and development of solutions to health matters affecting the vast lower- and middle-income countries,” said the CS.
He said Kenya has made deliberate investments in Primary Health Care by creating Primary Care Networks across the country, supporting them with access to essential medicines, operationalizing Medicines Therapeutic Committees and capacity building of Community Health Volunteers, and hiring healthcare workers of various cadres at the PHC facilities.
The Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly is being held in Geneva, Switzerland and is the first in-person Health Assembly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.