Religious groups' role vital in healthcare in Kenya
SEE ALSO :County to recruit 16 special doctorsThese missionaries were over time able to establish Africa’s modern health systems and by the time most countries in the continent had achieved independence, faith-based health providers were responsible for a large number of modern medical services. In Kenya alone, faith-based facilities provide healthcare services to more than 40 per cent of the population. Dr Jill Olivier, a Research Director for the International Religious Health Assets Programme at University of Cape Town’s School of Public Health and Family Medicine, indicates that the presence and operations of faith-based facilities differ among African countries. For example, while South Africa nationalised most of its faith-based providers, Mali has a few such providers. In Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Kenya, the faith-based market share is estimated at more than 30 percent. In fact, Dr Olivier notes that in the last 10 years, there has been substantial interest in faith-based providers. Incidentally, faith-based organisations, such as Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies, provide quality affordable and essential medicine and medical supplies to over 2, 200 facilities, some of them in very remote locations.
SEE ALSO :County threatens to sack doctorsMost faith-based organisations have since lived up to their missions and provide a reliable supply of these medical items to facilities in Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Chad and Cameroon. Faith groups have large networks that make distribution of drugs easier and also based on the huge supplies they deal with; they get drugs at bargain prices which end up benefiting end users. To increase their bargaining power, faith-based organisations have come together in defined groups and thus are able to serve larger populations of people; driven by compassion as opposed to making profits. More than 100 international development policy makers, academicians and leaders from religious organisations concur that faith-based and religious organisations contribute added value to health, education and disaster relief. About 140 experts meeting at the Religion and sustainable development Forum: Building partnerships to end extreme poverty conference which was held in Washington D.C. USA in July 2015 agreed that there is compelling evidence to show the organisations are a critical cog in provision of health care services.
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