Day Two

Margaret Muiyuro of Nairobi Hospital speaks with (l-r) Amref Health Africa interim CEO, Dr Lennie Igbodipe-Kyomuhangi, Health Cabinet Secretary, Mr James Macharia, World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Kenya, Dr Custodia Mandlhate and Amref Africa Director General Teguest Guerma in the exhibition area yesterday.

Day Brief…

African governments urged to invest more in health systems

The first Amref Health Africa International Conference kicked off in Nairobi yesterday with a call on African governments to invest more in strengthening their health systems to achieve lasting health change.

Amref Health Africa Director General, Dr Teguest Guerma, and World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Kenya, Dr Custodia Mandlhate, asked governments to honour the promise they made in Abuja in 2000 to allocate 15 per cent of their national budgets to health.

The two also championed enhanced accountability in management of available resources for people to access health care. Dr. Guerma said Africa needs to invest in training and enhancing capacity of health work force to provide services for her citizens effectively, noting that the sector has a shortfall of one million professionals.

“It is worth noting that while Africa has only 11 per cent of the world’s population and 24 per cent of the global burden of disease, it has a mere three percent of the world’s health workers,” she said.

Dr Guerma rooted for the strengthening of community health workers through training and remuneration to bridge the shortfall and improve access to health care.

She disclosed that Amref Health Africa has adopted technology to speed up the rate of training for nurses and other health workers through e-learning to bridge the deficit. The organisation has so far trained about 12,000 nurses in Kenya through the initiative.

Dr Mandlhate stressed the need for research to facilitate a good understanding of Africa’s disease burden and its causes in order to mount an improved response to them.

She said research should prioritize providing

evidence for causes of poor use of available public health interventions and to support policies to strengthen their implementation.

“Why are pregnant women not attending antenatal clinics, children not being immunized, HIV subjects not going for Anti- Retroviral Therapy (ART) even when these are offered for free?” she asked.

Plenary Session 4: Human Resources for Health: Contribution of CHWs and Midwives to African Health
Keynote speaker: Dr Giorgio Cometto, Advisor, Global Health Workforce Alliance
Plenary Session 5: Community Health Systems Strengthening
Keynote speaker: Prof Miriam Were, Chancellor, Moi University and CEO, Uzima Foundation
Oral Abstracts Sessions
Financing Health Care and Private Partnerships
Antenatal Care, delivery practices and obstetric complications
Surveillance in malaria control and elimination