, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 2 – Kenya is set to benefit from a Sh7.6 billion fund from the Rockefeller Foundation to improve health care systems in the country.
Rockefeller Foundation President Dr Judith Rodin said the funds would be used in three countries to develop health care systems using Information Communication Technology.
She however said Kenya would start benefiting from the fund once the much awaited fibre optic cable which landed last month becomes operational.
“You will see the beginning of the development of electronic medical records, of the use of mobile phones not only for record keeping but for diagnosis, a coordinated effort to reorganise the financing and planning of the health care,” Dr Rodin said.
“We are determined that the final marker of success is better health for more people at lower cost,” she added.
Medical Services Minister Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o at the same time said that provincial hospitals would be given top priority once the project kicks off.
“There are district hospitals which are now treating as many patients as the provincial hospitals covering even a wider catchment area; so we have to consider those ones too,” the Minister said.
“For example if you take Kitale district hospital, its catchment area goes as far as Southern Sudan and Uganda so it qualifies to be a referral hospital. The same is true with Kisii, Bungoma and Isiolo and therefore we must target connectivity in terms of ICT,” he added.
Once the project is implemented, it is expected that there would also be a reduction in chronic diseases.
“We will definitely look for many markers of better health for example continuing reductions in maternal and child mortality. So the bottom line in success is the benefit for the people to whom this health care system is being organised,” said the Rockefeller Foundation President.
“These are government programmes, we are not coming to tell the government what to do,” she added.
Dr Rodin noted that annually, inefficient and inadequate health systems leave 125 million people worldwide spending nearly half of their annual income on health care. Another 25 million people fall back to poverty because of catastrophic health expenditure.
“And even as the number of health care workers rises, their efforts may be rendered less effective if the health systems supporting their efforts are not reorganised to maximise both the available human and financial resources,” Dr Rodin said.
She said the Rockefeller Foundation would apply three methods in improving the health care delivery. First they would equip the governments with technology and training to improve health planning, health financing and health delivery.
They would also engage the private sector in the search for innovation to provide and finance health services for the poor and lastly expand the use of Information Technology to bring E-health.
“This isn’t science fiction, it is already happening in many other parts of the world,” she said.
This, she said, would break the bottlenecks that restrict access to quality health services.