As health statistics from East Africa reveal, the region has some of the greatest health challenges in the world. Underpinning these dismal statistics and contributing to unmet population needs is the lack of a skilled, trained health care workforce that enjoys decent work standards and basic labor protections. East Africa experiences the most severe needs-based shortage of health care workers in the world, with only 1.9 total health care workers for every 1,000 people.
In 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya identified health as one of the four pillars of his plan for socioeconomic growth and committed to a bold plan to reach Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2022. Health experts in Kenya have been working with the World Health Organization to determine a roadmap to make this ambitious plan a reality. With decades of experience working with partners in the region, including Ministries of Health, Johnson & Johnson was poised to join this effort.
In 2019, CHWI in collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Kenya and convening partners AMREF and Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery co-created three collective impact platforms to achieve this goal:
- Community Health Units for Universal Health Coverage (CHU4UHC) – to integrate Community Health workers formally into the health system, empowering them to deliver quality preventive and promotive healthcare in a sustainable manner
- Nursing and Midwifery Platform – to equitably deploy an adequate number of competent nurses and midwives who have a positive self-image and are appreciated by the community and the health system they serve
- Cross-sector collaboration to Strengthen Oncology Health Systems in Kenya – to leverage the competencies of Johnson & Johnson companies and our external network of partners to strengthen the capacity of the health system to ensure quality management of cancer (prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support).
As these platforms get underway in Kenya, CHWI is working with partners to leverage the lessons learned to replicate similar programs in Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda.
Partners in East Africa include: