KENYA – Kenyan healthcare stakeholders held a conference to discuss the role of digital innovations in healthcare financing and advancing the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Agenda in Kenya.

The PharmAccess, the United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership Platform (UNSDG PP) and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kenya organized the conference dubbed ‘Digitalizing Health at scale’ to further strengthen Kenya’s health system.

The healthcare stakeholders discussed about how digital technology can mobilize additional financing for health, scale health coverage to those who have been excluded from the health system and improve healthcare delivery and outcomes.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe highlighted the role of technology, digitalization and data as holding strong potential to stimulate further investments in health while enhancing efficient use of existing funds.

Kagwe acknowledged PharmAccess contribution towards strengthening Kenya’s healthcare system by leveraging data and technology to support various initiatives on health financing and delivery.

For instance, PharmAccess has partnered with the Kisumu County to extend health insurance to residents of Kisumu with innovations and data at the core of the initiative.

Mutahi Kagwe reaffirmed that the government has made important policy choices and commitments to improve access to quality care for everyone such as passing a bill in parliament making National Health Insurance Fund mandatory for all Kenyans.

The government has also launched the UHC pilot in four counties and created an enabling policy environment for the adoption of innovations that can be scaled to facilitate health coverage.

The UN Resident Coordinator for Kenya Dr. Stephen Jackson said underscored health has a central place in SDG 3 which is to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” hence it was crucial for the government to provide health coverage in informal and formal sectors.

Dr. Stephen further said that the majority of the population across Africa is quickly being comprised of digital natives where youth that have grown up in the era of ubiquitous technology and are at ease with computer technology permeating all areas of their lives.

Subsequently, innovative opportunities in the digital health space are of particular interest in promoting accessible healthcare that equally have the potential to attract new investments opportunities and collaborations,” he added.

New mobile app to report health issues in Kenya

Meanwhile, Kenya has launched the Mobile Pharmacovigilance Electronic Reporting System (mPVERS) to help in monitoring of quality, safety and efficacy of health products and technologies in Kenya.

The mobile based solution provides a reporting platform in form of a mobile application for both android and iPhone operating system and an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) solution.

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board and the USAID Medicines, Technologies and Pharmaceutical Services Program developed the app to enable Kenyans to timely report if they encounter adverse events from vaccines, over the counter medicines, herbal medicines or suspected poor-quality health products.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Rashid Aman said the move will empower the consumers and improve their involvement in the management of their own health as well as share their experiences with pharmaceutical products via the mobile App.

He asserted that the solution is developed to supplement the existing national reporting system PvERS II launched in March 2021 to increase and improve consumer reporting and AEFI reporting.

He assured that the Ministry of Health through Pharmacy and Poisons Board is committed to providing Kenyans with safe, quality and efficacious medical products and health technologies.

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