Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has told the Langrenyuan Forum on South-South Cooperation and Development that Kenya is keen on expanding digital health and telemedicine to ensure efficiency in public health.

Mutahi who delivered a keynote address at the forum themed “A Digital Path to Health for All” highlighted the critical role innovation and technology plays in the government’s Universal Health Coverage plan with the development of Digital Health Platform underway.

“Improve efficiency and effectiveness of services offered in healthcare facilities, while at the same time improve accountability and transparency in the use of resources we use in healthcare; this platform will enable real time collection of patient data and further provide a platform for integration with other critical databases,” said CS Kagwe.

He noted that highly skilled healthcare workers’ distribution in Kenya is skewed towards urban sites, leaving the rural areas poorly staffed, thus this unequal distribution affects Healthcare Infrastructure as well and therein lies the advantages in ICT.

“If we cannot provide enough skilled staff in all our health facilities, we can surely take the skilled staff to the rural areas through Telemedicine. It is time that we looked into Teleconsultations and Tele-referrals as part of the things that are the new normal. There is no better time than this, especially because of the Covid-19 restrictions. And this in the long-term may be seen to become a silver lining during this pandemic,” CS Kagwe added.

Kenya has been working with Chinese telecommunication firm, Huawei to launch a pilot telemedicine project.

The Huawei partnership  will has resulted to a roll out of telemedicine between the National Referral Hospital and Isiolo County.

The Forum was organized by Peking University National School of Development (PKU-NSD), in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC) and China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) was attended by global health and technology leaders including World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus,   Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands, Vice Chairman of Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China Han Qide, UN Resident Coordinator in China Sid Chatterjee, and Faustine Ndugulile, Minister of Communication, Science & Technology, the United Republic of Tanzania.

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