It sounds straightforward and yet the shortage of trained staff is a reality for many communities. Let me ask you about the Partnership for Primary Care. Why do you think it has so much potential?
Improving healthcare in Africa requires strong partnerships that leverage the unique skills and resources of governments, civil society and the private sector alike. In the Partnership for Primary Care, which has the potential to be the first public-private partnership for primary care after the scale up, we combine the power of the private sector with the reach of the public sector. For example, the private sector can potentially have enormous impact in increasing business investments and developing scalable market-based approaches, while civil society organizations can ensure that those investments actually benefit communities and deliver quality services.
The program itself is effective because we tackle the entire health system by improving the demand and supply side of care and by focusing on financial sustainability. In order to really improve the system, you need to tackle these three areas. This way, we make the primary healthcare system more robust and stronger without actually changing it. We make primary healthcare available for everyone in a financially sustainable way while maintaining leadership of the public sector role of government as duty bearer.
I want to hasten to add that access of care is just as important as the quality of care. This project is just as much about access as it is about the quality of care being provided.
How has the local community responded to this program?
So far, we’ve learned that the community is positive about the changes. People see the facilities and the supply of healthcare have improved. So we see changes on the demand side in the clinics and there is more activity – more patients are being treated, more women deliver their babies in the clinics instead of delivering at their homes.
Health is a basic human right. Everyone should have access to essential health services without financial hardship. This is at the core of what we do as Amref. And this is also what we focus on in this program – building a sustainable model that improves the quality of care and leverages the national health insurance. Furthermore, we focus on the mobilization of domestic resources. This is critical because we see donor funding declining and healthcare costs rising. I’m really eager to see how the study continues to develop.
How do you think the model being implemented in Makueni County can be applied in other areas in Kenya and around the world?
To be honest, what we are doing here in Makueni is not rocket science. We bring proven solutions together that improve the demand and supply side of care. We explore whether there is synergy when combining this. And we focus on health insurance to make sure it financially sustains. At the end of this feasibility study in Makueni, we will deliver a blueprint showing what works, what doesn’t work, that, after contextualization can be used by everyone.
Watch this video to learn more about the Partnership for Primary Care: