Kenyan leader calls for using COVID-19 lessons to anchor universal health roll-out

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta with First Lady Margaret at Swearing In on November 28, 2017
President Uhuru Kenyatta Sworn In

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday called for the utilization of knowledge gained from the global and national response to COVID-19 in the national roll-out of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Kenyatta who opened a COVID-19 virtual conference organized by the Council of Governors on building resilience to deal with future pandemics said UHC, which is one of the government’s development agendas, should be structured to promote preventive medicine.

“Pre-mortem analysis will help us chart the path to sustainable health provisioning for all. Using this model, the conference should, therefore, give us counsel on how to promote preventive medicine over symptomatic care,” Kenyatta said in a statement issued after his opening remarks.

“It should guide us on how to use the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 experience in order to anchor the full national roll-out of the Universal Health Coverage,” he said.

As stakeholders harness lessons from the six-month fight against COVID-19 and as the curve of infections in the country begins to flatten, the president called for caution saying the focus should remain victory against the killer virus.

“But as we implement best practices after the counsel of this conference, our shared goal must also remain in sight. And this goal is simple: Victory over COVID-19 and nothing less. We must achieve it at zero option,” he said.

Kenyatta called for a shift from tactical responses to more long-term strategic approaches to achieve resilience to the current COVID-19 and future health challenges.

“We must move away from tactical response to this pandemic, to strategic response. Instead of symptomatic reactions to this crisis, we must move to structural reactions that are long-term and transformative,” the president said.

“And this is what I call positive resilience – being able to anticipate the patterns of this pandemic, responding to it transformatively and ‘building-back’ better,” the president told the meeting.

Mutahi Kagwe, the health cabinet secretary said the infrastructure set up to respond to COVID-19 was a major boost to the country’s UHC agenda.

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