On October 2, more than 100 government officials, health service providers, and representatives of civil society organisations, the private sector, international development partners and academia attended a stocktaking workshop organised by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) Health Sector Programme at the Heron Portico Hotel. The aim of the workshop was to ensure that Kenyan institutions and other partners continue to build upon the results of Kenyan-German technical cooperation in health, which had its early beginnings in the 1980s. Joining forces with financial cooperation through KfW, the German Development Bank, technical cooperation in the health sector has been a programmatic focus of German Development Cooperation since 2001. The current phase of German support to the health sector under bilateral technical cooperation will be ending in December 2018.
Highlighting achievements of Kenyan-German cooperation
In a sequence of plenary contributions, representatives of GIZ’s Health Sector Programme in Kenya, Ministry of Health, National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), Council of Governors, County Departments of Health, Amref Health in Africa and the Health NGOs Network (HENNET) gave an overview about results of Kenyan-German technical cooperation to strengthen the Kenyan health system. These include: establishing quality standards for health services, promoting reproductive health and rights, expanding health insurance coverage for people in the informal sector, supporting innovations with information and communication technology (ICT) for health, improving transparent and accountable health service provision at the county level, and fostering public-private partnerships in health. Results have been particularly instrumental in strategy and practice development for inclusive, reliable and financially sustainable health insurance coverage, and for the establishment of the Kenyan Quality Model for Health (KQMH), a backbone of hospital quality management and accreditation. They have been relevant at both the national and county level. Kisumu, Vihiga, Siaya and Kwale Counties have been a focus of Kenyan-German technical cooperation in recent years. These contributions have generated building blocks that are now helping to pave the way for the achievement of Universal Health Coverage in Kenya, which has emerged as a top priority of the current government of Kenya.
Germany’s contributions to health at the international level
The World Health Organization’s Country Representative for Kenya spoke about Germany’s highly engaged global and country-based cooperation with the WHO in health. He also highlighted Kenya’s important role in the global move towards Universal Health Coverage. The Country Director for GIZ in Kenya noted that the particular strength of German technical cooperation lies in the way it combines local support with advice on national strategies and policies. While the German government has not committed further funds for country-based technical cooperation in the the health sector at present, Germany’s close cooperation with the World Health Organization and other global health actors on the achievement of health-related Sustainable Development Goals is relevant also in Kenya. ‘The linkage between engagement in global and national efforts is a very important one,’ he said.
Looking to the future
In technical groups, participants discussed how achievements in five thematic areas could continue to be anchored in Kenyan institutions and in programmes supported by other partners. Their commitment will help ensure that the essential results of Kenyan-German technical cooperation will strongly support continued progress toward the provision of good quality health services to all Kenyans – one of the top priorities on President Kenyatta’s ‘Big Four’ agenda.