“In 18 years of professional life, I’ve had one overwhelming desire, to strategically respond the gaps identified within the African healthcare sector by providing healthcare that is financially and geographically accessible through specialized products and services……That dream has been realized….Dr. Sam Thenya, Group Chief Executive Officer, Nairobi Womens Hospital.
Today, health enjoys support from an unprecedented number of partnerships, foundations, and agencies implementing programmes in countries. There are more actors in health than in any other sector that I know of. The number of innovative funding mechanisms continues to grow, as does the size of resources they command. There will always be unmet needs, but health has never before received such attention or enjoyed such wealth.
Yet despite this unprecedented commitment and momentum, we are still running behind. More importantly, we are struggling against challenges that have grown enormously in their complexity. The world did not face HIV/AIDS in 1978. Since then, many diseases, including tuberculosis and malaria, have dramatically resurged. Globalization and rapid, unplanned urbanization have created new problems and intensified others. New diseases are now emerging at the unprecedented rate, on average, of one per year. And in many developing countries, like ours, the health burden is growing at a time when public health is losing its capacity to respond.
The globalization of the labour market has contributed to the mass exodus of health workers from the countries that invested in their training. WHO estimates that 4 million health workers are urgently needed to provide the bare essentials of care in more than a quarter of the world’s countries. Chronic diseases, long considered the companions of affluent societies, have changed places. Low- and middle-income countries now bear the greatest burden from these diseases. The rise of chronic diseases has created a heavy additional burden for health systems. Moreover, the costs of caring for these diseases can be catastrophic for impoverished households, anchoring them even deeper in poverty. And with more than 52 % of Kenyans living below the national poverty line, the situation gets worse. Many of the world’s 1.3 billion poor still do not have access to essential interventions because of weaknesses in the financing of health care.
As healthcare providers we must discharge OUR obligations with due diligence and with professional and ethical prowess. This is our one responsibility. This is our only responsibility.
Our common cause to humanity gives each one of us reason to care if we are to meet the Millennium Development Goals and the Vision 2030. Nairobi Women’s hospital cannot remain indifferent to the struggles of men and women to access healthcare and information. It is why we must act with urgency in the face of health concerns of our people and work together as partners to bring health to our sick society. ….
Dr. Sam Thenya,
GCEO, Nairobi Womens Hospital.