Fund health systems, donors urged

October 15, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – The Ministry of Public Health on Thursday said there was an urgent need for development partners to focus on strengthening health systems through funding besides supporting access to drugs.

Public Health Minister Beth Mugo said that strong health systems were critical in the achievement of disease specific program targets.

“More than often, we have been accused especially by Global Fund who are one of our major partners of not exhausting all the funds and we cannot be able sometimes to use all the money to buy drugs unless we have enough staff to administer those drugs,” she said.

Speaking during the first implementers meeting with UNITAID, an international Organisation responsible for purchase of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB drugs, the Minister said health systems pillars such as procurement, supply system management and financing also needed financial support.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Director Dr David Okello said strengthening health systems would ensure effective care of patients.

“You can bring the medicines to Nairobi but they don’t reach the patients. There are several issues involved in the care of patients including the issue of health systems,” Dr Okello said.

“We have very weak health systems in our part of the world and I think you (development partners) can help us with innovations to get health systems effective and to get the systems deliver the drugs where needed,” he added.

Mrs Mugo said countries should be empowered to identify and address multifaceted health system requirements and find ways to improve positioning of planning processes for all donor funded programs with national strategic plans.

“Alignment will promote efficiency and avoid duplication. Therefore our current efforts should be expanded to also include ways of improving coordination between donors and national public health systems,” she said.

Mrs Mugo however pointed out that there was need to increase international and national sources of funding to achieve agreed health targets. She said governments and development partners must ensure sustainable financial flow to support the growth of health programs.

A statement from the Millennium Foundation, an independent non-profit foundation supported by the United Nations said despite increasing awareness of the appalling human and economic impacts of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, International funding for health did not match the needs of developing countries.

“The past years have unveiled that not only was funding insufficient in time of economic growth but it was also highly vulnerable to economic crisis. Now more than ever, there is an urgent need to find new and sustainable sources of funding health,” it stated in part.



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