The Cabinet Secretary for Health Nakhumicha S. Wafula has backed Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu following her unrelenting passion to drive forward the agenda of affordable healthcare in her country which continues to champion for safe public health protocols.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing Africa Climate Summit at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre ,the vibrant CS lauded Suluhu for remaining steadfast in proactively engaging with multilateral and bilateral partners in the region and around the world to improve the medical standards of her people.
“On the sidelines of the Africa Climate Summit 2023,happy to have met Tanzanian president Her excellency Hon Samia Suluhu. I was amazed by her enthusiasm and commitment in ensuring Tanzanians get quality and accessible healthcare even as they battle adverse effects of climate change on Health. Kenya shares the same dream” she said
In Tanzania, the role of the private sector as an engine of growth has been given renewed emphasis with increased attention to addressing major constraints on private investment.
Suluhu recently announced the removal of barriers to access to quality medication by pregnant girls and young mothers besides factoring them for continued education, a reflection of the government’s commitment to supporting girls and young women.
Under her administration, Tanzania made significant progress in addressing HIV and maternal and child health, and more specifically in its efforts to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV,a move that saw a success rate of more than 90 percent among HIV-positive pregnant women.
She assumed office in March 2021 after the death of President John Maghufuli, making her the sixth president of the United Republic of Tanzania having previously served as vice-president in 2015 and was re-elected to the post in 2020.
In her maiden speech at the General Assembly, Ms. Suluhu decried the COVID-19 vaccine inequality, noting that high and middle-income countries were now giving booster vaccinations while developing countries such as Tanzania had barely inoculated even 2 percent of the population.
“The level of vaccine inequity that we see is appalling. It is truly disheartening to see that most of the countries have inoculated less than 2 per cent of the populace and thus need to seek more vaccines for our people,” she said.
While calling for the waiving of the rights of vaccine patents in order for all countries to be able to produce them, Ms. Suluhu also spoke about the devastating effects COVID-19 had on Tanzania’s once-flourishing economy, including increased poverty levels and decreased economic growth.
“After the onset of the pandemic, we in Tanzania, and I believe in many other developing countries, were stuck in the twilight of protecting lives and livelihoods. Measures advocated by the WHO were geared towards protecting lives, however, an economy like Tanzania, consists of a bigger proportion people living on subsistence economy whom we need to keep afloat,” she said.
In Kenya,Nakhumicha who took charge of the critical health docket after August 2022 General Elections has remained optimistic that under her watch,the country will achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in a bid to ensure all individuals have access to quality healthcare services without having to endure financial destitution.
In her pursuit of improving the delivery of health products and services and promote health system innovations, she met on Monday with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Health Partners whose work in Kenya focuses on areas of overlap between their expertise and the government’s priorities under the Kenya Vision 2030 development blueprint and the country’s United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which include primary health care and gender equality.
“I met with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Health Partners led by Mr. Christopher Elias, the President Global Development, and Mr. Cheikh Oumar, Africa Director.I updated the team on the UHC progress on each pillar and what the Ministry of Health has managed to achieve so far as we gear up for the launch in October.The foundation is keen to explore possible opportunities and partnerships to ensure the Government of Kenya delivers Universal Health Care to the people.” read her Twitter account.
President William Ruto has in the past reiterated his commitment of successful delivery of UHC through prioritization of preventive healthcare, anchored on community health workers, NHIF reform, and provision of medical supplies and equipment.