Context – the health care crisis in Africa compounded by Covid 19
Economic growth in Africa has played an instrumental role in helping tackle poverty, it is increasing standards of living and its providing security and stability for people. Despite this progress however, levels of healthcare in Africa remain perilously low, the lowest in the world, according to the IFC. The WHO noted in its that 19 of the top 20 countries with the highest of the highest maternal mortality ratios are in Africa. McKinsey & Company in their analysis of the challenges facing Africa’s healthcare sector noted a twin health crisis: double the disease burden of other parts of the world coupled with fragile health care systems with the availability of skilled health care workers 60 percent below the UN’s minimum threshold.
Covid-19 has exposed the extent of deficiencies in African healthcare systems and highlighted limitations in meeting people’s right to healthcare according to a Human Rights Watch, which is calling on government to invest more in healthcare infrastructure and equipment.
Much of the response the health care crisis in Africa, including the response to the Covid 19 pandemic has come from public sources and donors. Humphrey Kariuki, a successful African entrepreneur with a business that spans 8 countries, however believes that there is a role for business and the private sector to play – not only through building healthcare focused businesses, but by helping to raise standards of healthcare in Africa through social responsibility. Humphrey believes that access to healthcare should be considered a universal right and that all elements of society should work towards achieving this goal. He has invested considerable resources into addressing critical problems within the healthcare system in Africa, from funding for healthcare staff to equipping hospitals with life saving equipment.
“We cannot talk about economic empowerment and prosperity while people’s basic needs for healthcare is not being met.” – Humphrey Kariuki
“Each of us in a position to do so, must play our role in protecting the well-being of others. This is our duty to each other as human beings. We cannot talk about economic empowerment, and prosperity while people’s basic needs for healthcare is not being met.
“As we continue to battle the Covid 19 pandemic, now more than ever, we need to support doctors and nurses, who are putting their lives and well-being at risk often without the resources they need, and we need to support our hospitals, without which we would not get the treatment we need when we need it most. Where we can put something back to help the fight, we must.
“Our commitment to healthcare should however not be limited to times of pandemic. Anyone of us may at some point in our lives be dependent on our healthcare system for our survival. It matters to all of us. Healthcare is foundation stone for a productive society. I will continue to support healthcare initiatives in any way I can. More doctors and nurses mean more lives saved. Better equipment means we can detect diseases earlier and help people recover. The science and technology are available, it is up to us as a society, and decision makers in government to ensure that we have better access to it in Africa.
Recognising the need to support healthcare initiatives in Africa, HK has used his position to help build the healthcare system where he can. This has included:
- HK has been active in contributing towards the fight against Covid 19 in Kenya, Zambia, Uganda and Mozambique through his companies, which have contributed almost $1 million to testing, buying live saving equipment like ventilators, acquiring PPE for frontline health workers, providing transport for health workers and working with CURE International
- KSh 14 million donated to the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi which has allowed funded support healthcare support to 50 and 100 patients every month.
- New wheelchairs, hospital beds, and television sets, providing support for more than 1,000 patients a year at the Muhimbili Orthopaedic Hospital, in Tanzania.
- Increasing access to life-saving equipment, including two incubators, a resuscitator, a bronchoscope, and an ultrasound machine, at a cost of Ksh 20 million, to the Arthur Davidson Hospital in Ndola, Zambia. This equipment supports up to 115 patients every month.
- HK has made sizeable contributions to disaster relief programs. Recently, this has included donations of a combined total of KSh 9 million to the World Vision Water Program in Uganda, the Swiss Red Cross in Geneva, the Mozambique Natural Disaster Relief Fund during Cyclone Ida, and the Kenya Famine Relief Fund through the Kenya Red Cross Society.
HK will continue to support doctors and nurses, so that they can save lives, and increase people’s access to state of the art medical equipment by equipping hospitals and medical facilities. Driven by a belief that health is a precursor to empowerment in Africa, that people are reliant on their health for their livelihoods, and that a healthy society is a productive society, HK will continue to identify high priority areas in healthcare across and seek solutions to the issues which affect people’s lives and well-being.