The government of Kenya and the World Health Organization (WHO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the establishment of a WHO Regional Emergency Hub for Eastern and Southern Africa in Nairobi.
Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Susan Nakhumicha said that Kenya recognizes and supports the new innovative initiatives launched by WHO to improve the capacities of African countries to respond in real-time to increasingly numerous and complex health emergencies.
Speaking on Monday at Afya house during the signing of the MoU, the CS said that it is envisioned that the Emergencies Hub will serve as a modern storage center for essential medical equipment and consumables that will ensure timely logistical support to countries with emergencies in Eastern and Southern Africa.
“The Hub will also house a center of excellence specialized in capacity building in health and crisis emergency management,” said Nakhumicha.
The CS explained that an expanded and more versatile emergencies hub in Kenya would allow WHO to effectively and swiftly support Kenya and all Eastern and Southern African countries by maintaining stockpiles of medical and logistical supplies.
The hub, she added will facilitate training multi-disciplinary teams of human resources to serve as Africa’s Elite Emergency Experts and stationing of WHO/AFRO health emergencies professionals to ensure quick deployment during public health and humanitarian emergencies in Kenya and Africa as a whole.
“Through this partnership with WHO, we will have access to the organization’s global network of experts, knowledge, and resources. We will also be able to leverage the latest innovations and technologies to improve our response times and our ability to provide essential healthcare services during emergencies.
Furthermore, this hub will enable us to build on the progress we have already made towards achieving universal health coverage in Kenya. We are committed to ensuring that every Kenyan has access to quality healthcare, and this partnership with WHO is a crucial step towards achieving that goal,” said Nakhumicha.
The CS said that Kenya appreciates WHO as a valued partner to the Ministry of Health, particularly during the Covid-19 response.
“We appreciate the continued collaboration between the Ministry of Health and WHO in developing disease-specific contingency plans, including, Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers, pandemic influenza, Cholera, Rift Valley Fever and Polio,” added Nakhumicha.
The CS added that they are committed to working with WHO and other regional partners to strengthen health systems and improve preparedness and response to health emergencies.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a