Philips, Amref Health Africa extend collaboration towards achieving universal health coverage in Africa
Royal Philips and the largest African health organisation Amref Health Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to extend their joint mission to sustainably transform primary healthcare towards achieving universal health coverage (UHC), in Africa.
The collaboration, which started in 2013, will build on its strategic objective to improve access to community and primary care for 10 million people in underserved areas in Africa, as it enters the third phase of its implementation, which will be in effect until 2022.
“Universal health coverage is essential for inclusive development and prosperity, particularly for mothers and children,” said Jasper Westerink, CEO, Philips Africa. “We have through our collaboration with Amref seen our combined commitment to maternal and child healthcare, have a direct and dramatic positive impact on the quality of people’s lives. Given the need for quality healthcare across the continent and recognising how big a challenge it is, I am delighted that we are continuing our collaboration with Amref. I believe through our continued efforts, we are making good progress in achieving the required traction towards UHC, particularly in terms of driving access to care through innovative solutions.”
Joining forces in an innovative collaboration model over six years ago, has brought about structural improvement in healthcare infrastructure and healthcare provision on the continent, while facilitating growth across the fast-evolving healthcare market. Together, Amref and Philips have brought innovations and solutions to the market that have enabled community-centred, affordable solutions to bridge the health system gaps on the continent.
Highlights include rolling out over 150 Community Life Centre (CLC) Outreach Kits into the Afar-region in Ethiopia to promote reproductive health; delivering Mobile Obstetrics Monitoring (MOM), Lumify, and CLC Outreach Kits into communities to collectively improve access to care in Wajir County, Kenya and later this year with independent midwifes in Kenya; as well as successes achieved in developing and testing public-private partnership models to advance primary care in Makueni County in Kenya, which is planned to be scaled to over 200 facilities across the County. In addition, Amref has trained around 250 clinical staff at operating Philips CLC’s.
“The most innovative technology in the world will only be effective if it is aligned with the community it is intended to serve, including considering the infrastructure and challenges of the environment,” said Dr Githinji Gitahi, Global CEO, Amref Health Africa.
“By joining forces in a new model of social enterprise, we at Amref and Philips have been helping to solve many of the problems that beset healthcare in Africa, such as the high mortality rate among mothers and children and the acute shortage of medical personnel. Our joint approach has been central to our success, and will continue to be the cornerstone of our collaboration over the next three years.”
With close to 180 years of combined experience and operations on the continent, Philips and Amref are ideally placed to work in close cooperation with local stakeholders to continue implementing large-scale projects to improve healthcare infrastructure and make healthcare more accessible to the local population.
“I am excited to see how far we have come in improving healthcare access, and removing barriers to quality care since 2013,” said Westerink. “Neither civil society, nor government can achieve this feat alone, which is why access to care through technological innovations and the need for shared value collaboration to help attain UHC are important conversations that we are championing at the WEF to realise our joint ambition for healthcare improvement in Africa.”
Platforms like WEF Africa help foster joint advocacy for UHC, expectantly a key precursor to realizing access to quality, affordable care. And it is on this occasion that successful collaborations should be the springboard to further collaboration as part and parcel of UHC, as broad-based involvement is critical in delivering it.