The USAID Private Sector Engagement Program, PS Kenya, had the privilege of attending a consultative meeting with local Kenyan manufacturers hosted by the Directorate of Health Products and Technologies (DHPT), led by Dr. Tom Menge, on October 9, 2023, setting the stage for a transformative journey in Kenya’s health sector. The event was graced by the Chief Guest, Principal Secretary State Department for Medical Services, Mr. Harry Kimtai, CBS, and aimed to align the vision for spurring local manufacturing of Health Products and Technologies (HPT) in the country. The meeting’s main agenda was the announcement of the forthcoming exhibition at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) on the 13th and 14th of October, which will spotlight locally manufactured HPT.
One of the objectives of the consultative meeting was to engage with local manufacturers and find out how to revamp the local manufacture of HPT to provide affordable and high-quality health products and technologies.
“While the discussion on local manufacturing often tends to centre around pharmaceuticals, the Ministry of Health’s mandate extends to health products and technologies,” stated Dr. Tom Menge, Head of Health Products and Technologies, Ministry of Health. Dr. Menge emphasised the need to include medical equipment, diagnostic tools, and innovative technologies, stating that they too are integral to the overall health infrastructure.
In a nation where healthcare accessibility and affordability have been longstanding challenges, this objective represents a step towards addressing the healthcare needs of its citizens. By prioritising the production of HPT within its borders, the Kenyan government is not only aiming to reduce the dependence on expensive imported medical products but also striving to ensure that they empower local manufacturers to produce these products.
This objective aligns with Kenya’s commitment to Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which seeks to ensure that every Kenyan can access the healthcare they need without experiencing financial hardship. Furthermore, revamping local HPT manufacturing aligns with the government’s broader vision of creating a resilient and self-sustaining healthcare system. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the importance of self-reliance in healthcare, pushing the government to be prepared for similar challenges in the future.
“HPT is a pillar that brings all the stakeholders together, from the national government and its agencies, the private and public sectors, the regulators as well as the industry and its consumers. This upcoming exhibition will be a catalytic event that will ensure that we are all working together to achieve health commodity security,” stated Dr. Zeinab Gura, Deputy Director-General of Health at the State Department of Medical Services.
Dr. Gura emphasised the importance of a shared commitment among the different stakeholders to create a healthcare system that is more inclusive and capable of delivering on the promise of enhancing the well-being of all Kenyan citizens.
“As a Ministry, we are extending an invitation to the private and public sectors to start collaborating, show the nation how cohesive we are, and show off our achievements as local manufacturers and contributors to the economy,” stated Mr. Harry Kimtai, Principal Secretary State Department for Medical Services. This invitation seeks to harness the innovative capacity, resources, and expertise of the private and public sectors to bolster healthcare infrastructure, enhance the quality of healthcare services, and contribute to economic growth.
The consultative meeting served as a precursor to Dr. Menge’s webinar held on the evening of October 9th. This webinar was tailored to foster active engagement with regional pharmaceutical manufacturers, providing them with valuable insights into the upcoming expo, its objectives, and the myriad ways they could be part of it.
PS Kenya’s USAID Private Sector Engagement (PSE) Programme plays a pivotal role, with its goal of improving health outcomes through increased patient choice of health products and services in the private sector. The programme exemplifies the significance of private and public sector cooperation in enhancing healthcare infrastructure, service quality, and contributing to economic growth.
This upcoming exhibition reflects Kenya’s visionary perspective, emphasising the indispensable role of the private and public sectors in healthcare development and its broader economic aspirations. It signifies the government’s commitment to establishing a strong and productive collaboration, thereby ushering in a new era of healthcare progress and economic advancement for the nation.