Local manufacture of medical products is the way to go, says Kagwe
Kenya yesterday asked East Africa partner States to invest heavily in manufacturing of medical products.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the crises occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic had opened up opportunities in enhancing technologies such as telemedicine.
“The time to invest in critical areas such as regional referral supra laboratories, telemedicine, and manufacture of key supplies such as medicine, vaccines and laboratory reagents is now,” Kagwe said during the official opening of the 8th East African Health and Scientific Conference.
The conference is being held virtually.
He encouraged countries to execute plans to manufacture vaccines, saying the opportunities brought by the crisis should not be wasted.
“I am aware that there are plans by some of the partner states to delve into manufacturing of vaccines with support from development partners. This is the way to go,” he said.
He added: “We must look to opportunities that will result in the EAC region having centres of excellence in all facets of the health system.”
Kagwe noted that during the Covid-19 pandemic, countries have harnessed opportunities that never existed previously, a case in point being virtual conferences.
“How about pushing this ability to areas such as telemedicine? It is during this crisis that we saw local manufacture of items such as hand sanitizers and personal protective equipment,” he said.
The future of health, the CS said, is grounded on technology, research and innovation.
He called on the conference to identify key areas that EAC can harness to collectively strengthen the region’s health systems.
The theme for the conference is East African Community Sustainable Development Goal on Health: Reflection and Path Ahead to 2030.
“The theme of the 8th East African Health & Scientific Conference is apt and provides an engaging platform for partner states to reflect on progress from a country and regional level as regards meeting the targets for the Sustainable Development Goal 3,” the CS noted.
The SDG 3 aspires to ensure health and wellbeing for all even during pandemics.