Kenya’s Healthcare Revolution: AI Partnership to Strengthen Health Systems

Kenya convenes healthcare leaders to bolster its system with AI-driven solutions, aiming for universal health coverage.

Kenya’s over-burdened health system is getting a major boost through a new international health partnership bridging proven Africa-led AI technology and deep local contextual knowledge.

Leaders in healthcare gathered in Nairobi on 22 February 2024 to join forces to address critical health outcomes and improve programme performance. Titled “Technology-enabled Health Systems Strengthening”, the round table brought together high-level government, donor and private sector health stakeholders in Kenya. Attendees included the Kenya Ministry of Health, Digital Directorate, Kenya Council of Governors, Kenya Healthcare Federation, Kenya Red Cross, AMREF, Palladium, PS Kenya and LVCT Health.

Bernard Langat, Division Head, Directorate of Health Informatics, Ministry of Health summarises: “The role of government is to provide an enabling environment where other partners can provide health system strengthening solutions such as digital health and AI. The government is always willing to listen, and emphasis is placed on, when one has a good idea, start and perfection will come along the way.”

The sector continues to grapple with various challenges, including inadequate funding, limited resources, human resource shortages, rising medical costs alongside low insurance enrolment, and regulatory challenges for novel and re-emerging products. While HIV prevalence, new HIV infections and AIDS related mortality has decreased, the challenge of new infections among key populations and adolescent girls and young women remain. Kenya is among 30 high TB and TB/HIV high burden countries that contribute over 85% of the global TB burden. While TB case-finding improved in FY21/22, a significant proportion (32%) of people with TB are still missed.

Vantage Health Technologies  – part of the international social impact business, the BroadReach Group – partnered with Africa Health Business (AHB), an Africa-based healthcare consultancy, to host leaders in the interactive partnership session.

Together they are launching a comprehensive training and capacity-building programme to provide local healthcare providers with the latest medical knowledge and technological skills.

The key objectives of this important session focused on:

  • Advancing technology solutions with an emphasis on the utilization of AI-driven, data-centric, and technology-enabled solutions to address healthcare challenges.
  • Driving towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030, not only on a global scale but with a targeted focus on Kenya, ensuring equitable access to quality healthcare.
  • Building transformative partnerships that are scalable beyond Kenya to other countries facing similar healthcare challenges.

Dr Gakombe Kanyenje Karangaita, Chairperson of the Kenya Healthcare Federation says: “It is impossible to achieve the UHC dream unless all health system building blocks work together cohesively. AI will be critical to improving the connectedness of payers and providers that will have an overall positive impact on the health system.”

Meboh Abuor, Senior Program Advisor for Council of Governors Kenya (CoG) adds: “We need to know how to sustainably exploit digital space for the benefit of the patient and the healthcare provider. There is an urgent need for AI driven capacity building for the Community Health Promoters (CHPs) with a focus on access, awareness, and affordability.”

The Kenya Red Cross represented by Mohamed Mohamud, Public Health Specialist, added: “Technology should be tailored to help and impact fragile health systems and ensure the population benefits. There should be an emphasis on seeing impact and sustainability of digital health solutions in the communities of the people who really need it.”

We must embrace an ecosystem approach to facilitate the integration and sustainable adoption of digital health and AI within our existing healthcare infrastructure in Kenya. It’s imperative that African-led solutions, driven by the expertise in Africa, pave the way for a healthier Africa.

Dr Amit Thakker, Executive Chairman, AHB

AHB and Vantage Health Technologies have established a transformative partnership to address cross-cutting challenges in the Kenya health system. This partnership looks forward to collaborating with the eco system and showing that AI powered Healthcare technologies can contribute to the building blocks of UHC in Kenya and accelerate its achievement.  We strongly believe in forging meaningful public and private partnerships to enable access to good health so all Kenyans can flourish.

Paul Bhuhi, Managing Director, Vantage Health Technologies

One of the first steps in the partnership is practical community engagement initiatives to promote health education, technology integration, capacity building, and community involvement for a robust, adaptive, accessible and patient-centric health system in Kenya.

Vantage provides AI-powered data management, patient care and real-time communication for healthcare professionals, especially within the treatment and care of HIV, TB, malaria and other related diseases. AHB in turn supplies market insights and fosters stakeholder engagements across the public and private sectors.

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