Africa’s healthcare landscape is changing fast. While diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, schistosomiasis and Chikungunya are still grave causes for concern, there is a growing burden from so-called ‘developed world’ diseases: non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like heart disease, cancer and diabetes that typically accompany industrialization and globalization.
According to the World Health Organization, NCDs in Africa now account for one third of the continent’s entire disease burden. This figure is expected to rise to over 40% by the year 2030.
The rise of NCDs in Kenya has been even more pronounced than in the rest of Africa. Between 2000 and 2012, deaths from NCDs rose by a staggering 44% (the rate was 26% in East Africa as a whole for the same time period).
Recognizing the evolving healthcare landscape and adapting accordingly is a main focus of Kenya’s Vision 2030 Plan. Vision 2030 is a long-term commitment to transform Kenya into a rapidly industrializing middle-income nation by 2030, including ambitious healthcare reforms which GE Healthcare will now help Kenya to realize.
Following the signing ceremony, Farid Fezoua, CEO of GE Healthcare Africa, said, “GE Healthcare is honored to and privileged to have been selected by the Government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Health, to support its healthcare transformation strategy, in line with the country’s Vision 2030 Plan.”
The agreement includes the modernization in 94 county hospitals across 47 counties and 4 national referral hospitals, with over 585 units of diagnostic imaging equipment including x-ray and ultrasound systems along with training and education programs.
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mr. James Macharia said, “The Managed Equipment Services Project is our key flagship program that will greatly impact the lives of Kenyans by decentralizing specialized healthcare services from national referral hospitals to county hospitals. This is in line with the Government’s commitment and support to counties to ensure continuous improvement of health services and expand access to quality and affordable healthcare – the right of all 46 million Kenyans.
“Disease patterns in Kenya are evolving, as are the needs of the healthcare system. In response to this, a central pillar of the health transformation strategy is aimed at strengthening preventative health services to help improve the long-term health outlook of the general population. By increasing access to preventative screenings, we aim to aid doctors in better detecting, diagnosing and treating non-communicable diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease, at an early stage. This has the potential to significantly reduce costs associated with late-stage diagnosis and also improve patient outcomes, enabling citizens to live fuller and healthier lives. As a leading global healthcare provider, we believe GE Healthcare is ideally placed to serve as our partner to deliver on this vision for earlier health.”
The agreement provides scope for the assessment and potential establishment of a GE Healthcare Training Center to be run jointly with an accredited local partner.
“Sustainable healthcare transformation requires a system-wide approach combining technology, capability building including training, service and maintenance, as well as long-term financing,” added Fezoua. “To that end, we are grateful to His Excellency, President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Cabinet Secretary, Mr. James Macharia and the Ministry of Health, for their confidence in the competencies that GE can bring to improve system and patient outcomes, and we are deeply committed to ensuring the long-term impact and success of this transformation program. We applaud the Government on building a progressive healthcare system to deliver better healthcare services to all Kenyans.”
Building on a heritage of over 100 years in Africa, GE’s commitment to healthcare development is backed by local investments, with Kenya serving as GE’s headquarters for Africa, focused on driving sustainable healthcare development through localization, local job creation and talent development. As part of its localization plans, GE Healthcare will look to more than double its local workforce in Kenya, to over 80 local employees by the end of 2015.