Makueni Care
In 2016 Makueni County launched the MakueniCare health initiative that has become a major benchmarking scheme for other counties in Kenya as well as visiting foreign delegations. Through the scheme 62.3 percent of the county’s population has pre-paid access to health services. This excludes those over 65 years who are covered at no cost. This is a significant development given that for a long time Makueni was among 15 counties where NHIF coverage stood at less than 10 percent.

Recently Makueni has partnered with Sandoz Pharmaceutical, Medtronic Inc and Management Sciences for Health, the International Cancer Institute (ICI) and Roche Kenya Limited. It is also one of the few counties in Kenya offering telemedicine services which is a collaboration with the National Council of Churches of Kenya.

Beyond Zero
Founded in January 2014 by Kenya’s First Lady Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta, the Beyond Zero Campaign has become one of the country’s major health successes. The campaign which has received global recognition has been credited with a decline in maternal deaths in Kenya, an increase in the number of women delivering in hospitals and a drop in mother-to-child HIV infections.

It has also been supporting exclusive breastfeeding, child immunization programmes and increased awareness of cancer screening across the country.

Kenya is the largest producer of pharmaceutical products in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region, supplying about 50 per cent of the regions’ market. Out of the region’s estimated 50 recognized pharmaceutical manufacturers, 34 are based in Kenya.

The value addition from the pharmaceutical sector generates around $62 million (Shs. 6.3trillion) amounting to 30 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) A 2018 survey by Health Action International on the availability of locally produced and imported medicines in Kenya recorded a total of 1125 products, manufactured by 21 Kenyan companies. Just over half, 55 percent, of all the products found in the public sector, private pharmacies, and mission hospital outlets were made in Kenya.

The vast majority of the local products were made by Dawa Limited, Laboratory & Allied, Cosmos Pharmaceutical, Biodeal Laboratories, Medivet, Elys Chemical Industries, and Universal Corporation.

Universal Corporation is the only local pharmaceutical company prequalified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the manufacture of anti-retroviral for the management of HIV/Aids. Cosmos, Laboratory & Allied and Dawa are also working for the WHO accreditation which would qualify them to tender for huge donor-funded HIV, malaria and tuberculosis programmes.

Pharmaceuticals Distribution
The majority of medicines are procured through the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) for the public sector and the Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS) for the private, NGO and faith-based facilities. MEDS is a Christian not-for-profit organization and serves as a medical distributor for FBO facilities that are part of the partnership of Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) and the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK). However, MEDS has recently opened up to supplying commercial private sector facilities that mainly serve the lower quintiles of society as well.

In the retail sector, there are 5,840 registered pharmacies in Kenya with Nairobi county leading with 1,850 followed by Central at 870, South Rift Valley comes third with 610 chemists, Coast (590), Nyanza (470), North Rift (460), Lower Eastern and Western tie with 330 chemists each, Upper Eastern (270) with South Rift coming last at 60 chemists.

Online pharmacy
Kenyans are increasingly turning to online pharmacies for their medication. However possibly the biggest development in the last 25 years is the entry of MyDawa in the online pharmacy in Kenya.

The company was established by Irish private equity firm ION Equity with an initial capital of Sh500 million ($5 million) as an online medicine distribution platform in Kenya. The medicines are delivered free by qualified professionals who give directions to patients on
proper dosage and usage. The e-pharmacy also uses track and trace mechanism to allow users to authenticate products through phone mobile apps.

Goodlife Pharmacies
The establishment of Goodlife Pharmacies around 2013 with support for the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group has seen the chain grow into the largest pharmaceutical retail company in East Africa.The company has opened pharmacies in hightraffic retail centres, gas stations and near health clinics to make it easier for a wide variety of consumers to access the products.

Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery
The last decade has also seen a strong demand for elective and restorative plastic surgery in Kenya. Demand for elective or cosmetic surgery is being driven by a growing middle class and more economically independent women. Reconstructive surgery is also driven by the high rates of women who may have lost their breasts to surgery after cancer, burn patients and the increasing number of injuries from road accidents and violence. Treatment that previously were sought out abroad are now readily available locally in major hospitals and private clinics. The sub-sector is also attracting clients from neighbouring countries.

Surgical and non-surgical procedures available in Kenya include botox for reversing facial wrinkles, dermal fillers, face and neck lift, eyelid surgery, cheek augmentation, rhinoplasty or the reshaping of the nose, hip and buttock enlargement and tummy tuck. Others include breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast lift, gynecomastia for reduction of breasts in men and other minor procedures
such as nipple reduction or augmentation. Most of the clinics operate under the Kenya Society of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic
Surgeons (KSPRAS).

Facilities offering plastic surgery include, Karen Hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital, Valentis Clinic, Apple and Sense Clinic, Diani Beach Hospital, Aga Khan Hospital, Coast General hospital among others. Closely associated with this is cosmetic dentistry to improve from discolored, chipped or missing teeth to complex facial reconstruction procedures.

Some of the outlets offering these services include Nairobi Dental Care, Ace Dental Care, Eastern Dental Practice and Arrow Dental Care among others. This is a market with huge growth potential with for example the global dental implants market estimated at USD 9.50 (Shs. 959.5billion) in 2018 and projected to reach USD 13.01 billion (Shs. 1.314trillion) by 2023.

Health Wellness
The rise of lifestyle diseases and obesity partially blamed on unhealthy diets, reduced physical activity and the polluted environment has sprouted a new health market. The segment is characterized by a rising demand for healthy and natural foods, food supplements, herbal and organic products and a fitness and gym culture.

The sector is mainly dominated by online marketing companies though there is a strong presence on the ground in urban areas such as Syner-Med Pharmaceuticals Ltd., The Health Shoppe KE, BF Suma and the market leader Healthy U among others. These companies trade in a wide range of natural and organic foods, special diet food, supplements, vitamins, herbs, and aromatherapy oils. Popular are also products such as Omega 3 oils.

With a rapidly growing population, currently at 47 million and changing disease profile, Kenyahas a deficit of 140,000 health workers. These include doctors, pharmacists, nurses, laboratory technologists and clinical officers. The public sector is also planning to
engage 100,000 community health workers in the current financial year. This indicates a huge demand for training especially for specialist cadres in cancer care, mHealth, ICT and telemedicine, Artificial Intelligence and health data management.

Currently the government is the major sponsor of health training institutions controlling up to 49.3%. The faith-based institutions comprise 24.3 percent and private sponsored institutions comprise 26.4 percent of health training institutions in Kenya.

There are about 102 institutions accredited to train nurses, 36 for clinical officers, 10 for doctors, 2 for dentists, 42 for laboratory technologists and technicians and 32 for pharmacists and pharmaceutical technologists. Amref Health Africa which
trains doctors, nurses, community midwives, clinical officers, laboratory technicians and pharmacists is a major source for trained community health workers in the continent.

Some of the major health workers training institutions include Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC), University of Nairobi, Moi University, Kenyatta University, Egerton University and Kenya Methodist University. Others are; Great Lakes University of Kisumu, PCEA Tumu Tumu and Kendu Adventist, Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi Hospital and the University of Eastern Africa at Baraton.

Medical Tourism
Kenya is the only country in Africa to have developed a medical tourism strategy to increase the number of patients coming in for healthcare.

The Kenya Health Tourism Strategy 2013-2030 targets at increasing the number of patients coming in for health care while reducing the number of local patients going abroad. Currently approximately 7,000 to 10,000 Kenyans are traveling abroad in search of healthcare services. This is estimated to cost Sh 7-10 billion with India being the main destination. At the same time it is estimated that 3,000-5,000 foreigners seek health care in Kenya every year at an estimated Shs.3 billion. Medical tourist to Kenya are mainly from the larger East African region mainly seeking dental and bone surgeries, renal treatment, cardiology and heart procedures and cancer in order of prevalence.

Last modified on Sunday, 08 March 2020

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