By Gift Briton

With nearly five in ten Africans still lacking access to health care, the establishment of VillageReach’s continental regional hub in Nairobi, Kenya is expected to optimize the organization’s efforts to reduce health inequities in the region.

VillageReach is a global nonprofit organization headquartered in the United States that works especially with African governments to solve healthcare delivery challenges in low-resource communities.

The organization aims to address healthcare inequities for over 350 million people globally by 2030. The Africa regional hub will be critical in reaching more people across the continent and reflects on the organization’s commitment to ensure that everyone in the continent has access to the health care needed to thrive and to reduce preventable deaths.

“The hub will increase collaboration and streamline operational support to our country teams and our partners across the 15 countries we support. We’ve been working in health systems in Africa for more than 20 years and what we’ve come to understand through our work is that the best health systems have three qualities: They make health products and services available when and where they are needed, for even the hardest-to-reach people; they adapt to shocks, strains and changes in demand – something so important today; and they are responsive to people’s needs and preferences. We call this responsive primary health care, and we believe this is so important to achieving universal health coverage,” Emily Bancroft, Chief Executive Officer and President of VillageReach said during the hub launch in Nairobi, Kenya.

Emily Bancroft, VillageReach’s CEO and President

Part of VillageReach’s efforts to reduce health inequities across the continent includes the partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Health to ensure that health products including medicines, vaccines, and other supplies reach people in remote areas.

For instance, the organization is partnering with the Kenyan Ministry of Health to expand the country’s health hotline capabilities and reach so that everyone has access to health information and communication.

This will be made possible by strengthening the health hotline which was established during the COVID-19 peak and transitioning it to provide communication and information related to disease prevention, health promotion, and referral systems.

“The Africa Regional Hub holds immense potential to accelerate progress towards equitable health care for all. As a ministry, we remain committed to fostering partnerships and supporting collaborative innovation within the healthcare sector. We anticipate continued collaboration and partnership to transform health care in Kenya and contribute to the broader global health agenda,” said Dr Stephen Njuguna, Senior Deputy Chief Pharmacist, Ministry of Health who was represented by Dr. Glady Mugambi at the launch.

Gladys Mugambi, the Head of the Directorate of Health Promotion and Education in Kenya’s Ministry of Health

The partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Health also extends to tackling polio outbreaks, where they work jointly to improve the sample transportation processes, ensuring swift and high-quality sample delivery from community health centers to national and international laboratories.

To do this, the organization is strengthening the capacity of health workers and providing crucial support through digital tools that unlock vast healthcare information and keep health workers at the forefront of best practices ultimately improving the quality of care they deliver. The health workers are trained and equipped to ensure they have the health products and take them to remote communities.

The organization is working in the areas of outsourcing the transport of health commodities to reach communities. Based on the experience gathered from other countries, VillageReach has established an outsourced resource center and works with the private sector to deliver health commodities and supplies outside the big cities to the communities. This will ensure that people have medicine on time to ensure that people have medicines in time with no stock out.

“This hub will catalyze increased partnerships with governments, the private sector, and research institutions and support our ability to deepen our understanding and engagement with local communities. In each country, we work with host Governments, the private sector, communities and others to rapidly replicate and scale proven innovative, responsive primary health care solutions that reduce inequities in access to quality health care services,” Claudia Shilumani, VillageReach Vice President, Partnerships and Impact.