, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 2 – A 22-member Dutch Trade Delegation has implored public sector to initiate partnerships with the private sector in a bid to improve access to quality of healthcare in the country.
The team led by Vice Minister, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports of the Netherlands, Erik Gerritsen, noted that digital technology and innovation is key in turning data into actionable insights to address complex issues in healthcare.
Global initiatives — such as the Digital Opportunity Task Force, the Global Knowledge Partnership, and the World Summit on the Information Society — have increased awareness of the vital role that Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) play in providing access to ICT for all as an instrument for social, industrial, and economic innovation.
Gerritsen noted that Netherlands had made tremendous progress in ensuring access to healthcare by the populous through the use of digital technology and innovation.
“Digital technology has created a whole new realm of possibility for the consumer, specifically with the advent of smart phones and their applications. Smartphone apps are now considered helpful tools in enhancing patient education, facilitating communication and patient engagement,” he said on Monday.
Meshack Ndolo – Senior Health Systems Advisor at the Council of Governors –welcomed Gerritsen’s remarks saying the public-private initiatives will go a long way in lowering the cost of healthcare.
“This is more important as it will boost the roll out of innovative affordable private health insurance options to more, uninsured Kenyans. Improve investment into specialized treatment facilities, through PPPs,” he said.
Ndolo also noted that “input towards an overarching regulatory framework will promote financing in both private and public sectors as well as expand health cover to ensure patients can access high quality health services within 5km.”
Africa Health Business Chairman and CEO Amit Thakker, also highlighted the importance of PPP’s in advancing digital technology and innovation in healthcare.
“Through PPP’s we can expand health training to bridge the gap; e-Learning and medical training facilities, promote cost-effective tele-medical services, collaborate with the public sector in medical research and information sharing e.g. through the proposed national Data Centre, as well as commercialization of Research findings,” he said.
“Even with hacking threats and privacy breaches everywhere, technology and health companies are using connected health emerging field that links patients and doctors remotely to boost health care analysis and diagnoses.”
According to Thakker, to address these long-standing issues, innovation is required in five areas: medical technology innovation to restore health to people suffering from chronic disease, scientific breakthroughs in drugs that treat and cure the most debilitating diseases, delivery of health care outside of the hospital setting, letting hospitals focus on the most seriously ill patients, innovative use of information to improve diagnosis, treatment and after-care, and moving upstream to prevent disease occurrence with innovative approaches that enable people to lead healthy lives.
Advancements in medical technology address debilitating neurological diseases, non-communicable diseases, and cardiovascular ailments.
The emphasis on innovation promises to accelerate rapidly and produce exponential change in important areas including prevention, more personalized care tailored specifically to a patient’s genetic profile and needs, more efficient and proactive technology-enabled care models, more integrated and comprehensive delivery organizational designs, and additional creative technology-enabled options for effective health encounters including patient to provider and provider to provider.
The Dutch delegation begun its three-day visit in Kenya on Monday and is expected to meet Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki on further engagements touching on the role of the private sector in reducing the gap for Universal Health Coverage by incorporating digital technology and embracing innovation.
They will later travel to Ethiopia for a two-day visit.