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Ministry of Health partners with pharmaceutical groups to fight diabetes

The Ministry of Health has entered into a partnership with leading pharmaceutical Novo Nordisk and other key partners for the purpose of establishing an implementation framework to launch the Affordability Initiative for diabetes care in Kenya as the world marks 100 years of insulin use.

The framework which is the next level of intervention in diabetes by Novo Nordisk has also brought on board 13 county governments and a consortium of other organizations including supply chain organizations, implementing facilities, faith-based organizations, county government, and several other allied bodies.

Other key partners in this initiative include the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, Christian Health Association of Kenya, Kenya Diabetes Study Group, Kenya Defeat Diabetes Association, Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies, Medtronic Labs, Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance of Kenya, Philips Therapeutics Ltd and the Royal Danish Embassy.

Speaking on Tuesday during the virtual launch of the initiative in Nairobi, Emil Larsen, CVP Business Area Middle East, Africa and CIS of Novo Nordisk said the main objective of the initiative is to accelerate access to affordable treatment for patients living with diabetes in Africa in a sustainable manner in four key areas of capacity, affordability, reach and empowerment thus ensuring more patients will be treated to defeat diabetes in Middle Africa, especially at this time of the celebration of 100 years of the discovery of Insulin.

The Affordability initiative being a key part of iCARE, is a collaborative agreement to improve access to diabetes care in Kenya and introduces new long-term ambitions to provide access to affordable diabetes care to vulnerable patients in several counties. The initiative also seeks to find ways to bring diabetes treatment and insulin to patients by leveraging already existing supply chains, health care facilities and the public sector.

With Kenya having 552,400 adults (20-79 years) with diabetes1, and being one of the pilot countries for the Affordability pillar of iCARE, the Affordability initiative presents a unique opportunity for the country to leverage much needed partnerships with the private sector as alluded to by Dr. Ephantus Maree, the Head, Division of NCD Prevention.

“The government is working on strengthening data collection from counties through the Kenya Health Information System (KHIS) to improve on diabetes care and intervention,” he said.

Dr. Eva Njenga a leading physician and endocrinologist representing the Non- Communicable Diseases Alliance of Kenya, equally expressed the timeliness of the Affordability initiative noting that in Kenya 40% mortalities can be attributed to NCDs.

“Most of these deaths are preventable. We must make sure that diabetes care is established in all our healthcare systems including the universal healthcare programme,” she added.

Mr Henrik Larsen, Deputy Head of Mission, Royal Danish Embassy, Kenya highlighted the importance of the Affordability initiative and the iCARE initiative overall as coming at the same time as the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. A monumental and history changing event, in 1921 that has today led to patients living with diabetes being able to live and thrive. He described the Affordability initiative as further cementing the gains of the discovery of insulin 100 years ago.

Also speaking at the forum, Kisumu County Governor Professor Anyang Nyong’o observed that awareness is still very low especially in rural areas and they don’t know what kind of intervention they need to manage their conditions.

“We need to strengthen our awareness programmes to cover the rural areas adequately,” he added.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

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