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Momentum builds for UHC across Kenya and Nigeria in 2018

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The road to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Africa was greatly strengthened by a number of high profile developments in Kenya and Nigeria during 2018. A strong increase in enrollments of people across both countries got underway at both state and county levels, alongside strong support at political level. 2018 was truly the year when Universal Health Coverage was put center stage.

NIGERIA: Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme

The year ended on a hugely positive note as the Lagos State Government launched the Lagos State Health insurance scheme in December. It was a significant step towards Universal Health Coverage for the over 20 million residents of the state. The PharmAccess team is proud to have played a significant role in the design process, including implementing the proof of concept, mirroring the Lagos State health scheme for over 12 months, proving that the use of mobile and digital technology can create access to healthcare for even the most vulnerable citizens, as well as efficiency and transparency in scheme administration.

Speaking at the launch, Country Director for PharmAccess Nigeria, Njide Ndili said, “PharmAccess Foundation is excited at the launch of the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme and what it means for universal healthcare for Lagosians. Throughout our 10 year relationship with Lagos State, we have been working hard with the Government and stakeholders to provide technical assistance to make sure that the scheme is a great, sustainable and longstanding success.”

NIGERIA: Kwara State launches health insurance for all

The journey towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria had already taken another step closer earlier in the year. In July Kwara State  launched its mandatory health insurance scheme for every resident. It allocates Government funds to pay the premiums of the poor and vulnerable in society as full subsidies. The process began back in 2007 with the Kwara Community Based Health Insurance Scheme and led to a state-wide insurance scheme in just over ten years. The successful transition was enabled through our work supporting Kwara State, healthcare providers, and communities in creating the demand and quality standards critical for health insurance adoption among the local population. This effective collaboration cultivated the ownership and financing necessary to ensure long-term delivery of primary health care, including maternal and child health. Commenting on the launch, CEO of PharmAccess Monique Dolfing said, “We are happy that the community based health insurance scheme has grown into a statewide scheme we are launching today.” Read the full story here.

KENYA: President signs the UHC national charter

December also saw a momentous moment for the future of health access in Kenya as President Uhuru Kenyatta officially launched the UHC pilot program in the country. It was a huge step forward for UHC in Kenya. Our team were on the ground in Kisumu County for the announcement. For its part, PharmAccess together with its partner CarePay Kenya, has been cooperating with three of the pilot counties – Kisumu, Nyeri, Machakos as well as Kakamega and Kirinyaga – to help foster, develop, and implement a county embedded model for Universal Health Care comprising the dual pillars of cover and care. Our technical partnership with Kisumu has helped facilitate all the registrations in the county – totaling 240,000 people, using the M-TIBA registration application.

KENYA: Massive UHC Registration Drive to get underway in Kisumu County, Kenya

In August, Kisumu County Government announced that it is preparing a massive registration drive to roll out UHC for all its residents. To help reach this important and ambitious aim PharmAccess was asked to assist the country’s National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to achieve universal health coverage by 2022. As part of the Kenyan’s government’s push towards achieving universal health coverage (UHC) over the next 5 years, all Kisumu county residents will gain access to the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) for comprehensive health services.

Kisumu is one of the four pilot counties for the UHC pilot and has developed an innovative healthcare model that combines access to health insurance with better quality of care. Utilizing a public-private approach, the county has partnered with PharmAccess for technical assistance. The partnership will facilitate digital registrations into NHIF, health financing, and service delivery in a cost effective and transparent way. Isaiah Okoth, Country Director, PharmAccess Kenya, says, “We share Kisumu’s commitment to unveil universal health coverage for its people while ensuring quality, accessible and affordable healthcare for the long term. From our experience, successful public-private partnerships have the potential to accelerate investment into healthcare. By harnessing the power of mobile technology through the M-TIBA platform, Kisumu is in the frontline of healthcare innovation.” Read the full story here.

KENYA: Registration drives underway in Kirinyaga, Nyeri and Machakos counties

Kirinyaga county in Kenya also kicked off its registration drive to extend universal health coverage to all eligible residents – some 124,000 households. The picture above illustrates the procedure on the ground as teams from the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) use M-TIBA to register people for Universal Health Coverage.

– PharmAccess Foundation

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NGOs - SDGs

Saibatu Mansaray Speaks On Breaking The Bias

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Saibatu Mansaray is a former White House Senior Executive, US Army Major (Rtd) and Medical Practitioner. Saibatu Mansaray speaks with Business Africa Online (BAO) on her thoughts on this year’s international women’s day theme: #BreakingTheBias. Excerpt.

As an African and Muslim woman who moved to the United States at 20 years of age and immediately joined the United States Army. I understand the bias I carried with me into a foreign land and the military. Everyday, questioning myself given my background. But my determination to overcome my self-imposed bias and that of those around me, pushed me to over perform and prove that I am supposed to be here and will leave a mark. I got system support in the military as a woman to compete and complete military training courses that were mostly male dominated. I remember being in a few extremely challenging military courses with very high attrition rates. But upon graduation I was the only woman standing alongside the men.

In my determination to always overperform in order to break the bias and glass ceilings.  I was the first woman the U.S. Army had ever assigned to the White House. To serve as White House Physician Assistant and Tactical Medical Officer to President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden. I was the first woman to be promoted early to the rank of Major as a physician assistant. I was the first medical officer and to date the only to serve as military aide to two Vice Presidents of the United States. In my own small way I created a gender equal world during my service in the military and continue to do so as CEO and Founder of The Mansaray Foundation. “Together we can all break the bias!”

 

Saibautu Mansaray is former White House senior executive, a physician assistant, CEO and Founder of The Mansaray Foundation. A Muslimah and retired decorated United States Army Officer. After over 20 years of humble service in the United States, she has chosen to return to Sierra Leone to make a difference.

 

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Dr. Adama Kalokoh, Founder of Impact Sierra Leone on Breaking The Bias

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Dr. Adama Kalokoh (Image: Supplied)

Dr. Adama Kalokoh, Founder of Impact Sierra Leone shared her thoughts with Business Africa Online on #BreakingTheBias.

“This theme resonates with me so deeply because we all deserve a seat at the table. It does not stop there, we also deserve the right for our voices to be respectfully heard in and out of the boardroom. The time is now for the world to recognize that gender equality is not an option but an absolute necessity. 

As a proud descendant of Sierra Leone, West Africa and founder of Impact Sierra Leone organization. I have insight on gender issues both in the United States and in West Africa. There seems to be a common factor between the two regions in terms of far less opportunities for women as compared to men. The playing field has yet to be leveled because we see too often that a woman’s skills or experiences are considered less important than her gender. 

As a global leader, I join in the fight against injustices, stereotypes, discrimination and inhumanity. Due to gender by promoting empowerment programs by empowering other women to have a voice. We are impacting the future generation of leaders who will ensure a world of inclusiveness and equality where all are valued. It is quite remarkable to see the various events planned to celebrate International Women’s Day with such a powerful theme.

My personal view is that the chains of bias must be broken in every facet in life from the medical field, political field, business field, and career fields but most especially globally. There needs to be a total mindset shift to eradicate the notion that women are inferior. Women’s equality will be the driving force to more positive change in the world. 

The poet Maya Angelou penned a powerful poem titled, “Phenomenal Woman” and indeed this is true. The fight for women inclusion must never end and needs to be championed by every citizen. Breaking the bias must happen at every level from the executive office to the most remote village in rural West Africa. We need more awareness, resources and policies set in place. And this can be done via training workshops, women’s equality groups, social media platforms and within the workplace. 

Much like how we won the war on slavery and overcame many setbacks from the Civil Rights Movement. We can win the war on Women’s Inequality and do it Together. To leave you with my favorite quote, “United We Stand, Together We Rise”.  

Let us stand up, raise our voices, take action and join forces to erase gender inequality worldwide.”

 

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US Embassy Kenya and inABLE partner to Launch “Creating Tomorrow’s Business Leaders”

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US Embassy Kenya Cultural Affairs Officer with inABLE Computer Lab Students, Chris Machin, Guest Bernard Chiira, Director Innovate Now-AT2030 And School Administrators (Photo:  inABLE)

The US Embassy in Kenya inABLE has initiated an 8-month Creating Tomorrow’s Business Leaders project. Aimed at equipping blind youth with computer and soft skills to develop entrepreneurial skills. And the specific mitigation competencies that blind people use to participate in the workforce.

This project includes 60 blind youth (40 girls and 20 boys) in Kenya aged 15-30 from 4 counties (Siaya, Thika, Meru & Mombasa). Who are presently enrolled in the inABLE Computer-Labs-for-the-Blind program.  Using hadley.edu participating blind and low vision youth have access to online resources. Aimed at sharpening their skills in mobility, employment readiness, daily house chores, personal hygiene and even social engagement with the general community.

The youth have been very adaptive to the process, and are very eager to learn more about employment possibilities. For example, Jacinta, a 15-year-old visually impaired grade seven pupil at St. Oda school for the Blind. Top students in her class and is very passionate about technology. She describes the value of this project: “As a blind learner who has had difficulties in accessing many learning resources. I am excited to be part of this project, and I want to take full advantage of accessible technology to boost my studies. And also learn about other useful life skills such as the best way to land employment.”

After learning basic computing, browsing, and internet skills, as well as the application software to be used in the training, including the Forsythe Center for Employment and Entrepreneurship platform. The participating students are learning more advanced skills such as:

(1) Online career research.

(2) Identifying business opportunities online.

(3) Advanced Forsythe Center for Employment and Entrepreneurship.

(4) Exploring work possibilities for the blind in the business world.

At the completion of this project, these youth will be equipped with assistive technology competence, computing skills, basic life disciplines, and employment preparedness to give them confidence to leverage available. And accessible digital resources that can set themselves apart when seeking employment or becoming self-employed.

This partnership between the US Embassy in Kenya and inABLE supports the nonprofit’s mission to empower Persons with Disability. Through computer assistive technology and its advocacy work that envisions a world where every individual has all-inclusive access to the same educational, technological, and employment opportunities.

Blind students demonstrate their computer assertive technology skills.

 

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