KENYA-Kenya and Portugal have entered into a new partnership specifically designed to strengthen the collaboration in their health sectors in the wake of sustained efforts by Kenya to advance the Universal Health Coverage.

During a meeting, Kenya Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe and Head of Mission, Embassy of Portugal in Nairobi, Ms. Luisa Maria Fragoso agreed to form a technical working team which would explore areas of possible collaboration in the medicine field.

The diplomatic ties will be important in sharing learned experiences as well as exposing health experts from the two nations to each other’s health systems.

Kenya adopted Universal Health Care as one of the big four priority agenda by His Excellency the President Uhuru Kenyatta.

According to the Health Ministry, President Uhuru’s aspiration was that by 2022 all persons in Kenya would be able to use essential services they need for their health through a single unified benefit package without the risk of financial catastrophe.

The Kenya-Portugal collaboration will allow ease of access to health services for millions of people.

The Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said that the president intended to entrench and expand the relations with Europe as a key multilateral partner while individual member countries such as Portugal were major bilateral partners in health sector developments.

“Whereas training in the advanced areas is welcome, we are especially keen on mid-level cadres. We should not forget that 90% of illnesses are diagnosed at primary care level thus those working in those areas need this exposure,” observed CS Kagwe.

 He further added that there was need to focus on specialist fields such as oncology.

In addition, Ms. Fragoso asserted that there were already different levels of collaboration existing between Kenya and Portugal in the health sector.

“We have a Kenyan nutritionist working on a program aimed at the reduction of Marasmus in Portugal whilst we have a Portuguese working with KEMRI on tropical diseases research which demonstrates that people already know what they need,” affirmed Fragoso.

The partnership meeting happened before a planned visit to Kenya by Portuguese Head of State Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa which will be the first such visit since the two nations established diplomatic relations 45 years ago.

Moreover, Portugal and Kenya are set to co-host the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference coming up from 27th June to July 1st in Lisbon, Portugal.

The 2022 forum under the theme, “Save our ocean, protect our future”, comes at a time when the world is seeking to address deep-rooted problems of our societies exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the summit, impacts revealed by the pandemic will require major structural transformations and common shared solutions that are anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Consequently, the Conference will seek to propel much needed science-based innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action.

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