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Kenya to get a share of Sh720bn being raised for health projects

 Health CS Susan Nakhumicha. [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

Kenya is set to benefit from part of the Sh720 billion ($6 billion) health fund for Africa targeting to eradicate diseases endemic in the continent.

The fund dubbed the Ubuntu Health Impact Fund is part of the mission by Africa Health and Economic Transformation Initiative (Aheti) launched in Kigali, Rwanda on Friday, aimed at eradicating malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and Aids, Hepatitis B and diarrhea over the next three years.

The funds that will be raised over a period of three years from different investors, strategic partners, and donors towards the specific AHETI programmes seek to overturn the reliance of the continent on the Western world on health projects.

Dr Fred Ogola, Chief Executive Officer (Aheti) said the fund comes at a time state and market failures have denied the poor access to medicine in Africa. Africa lacks genomic data for deciding the right therapies for a patient making healthcare less precise and therefore expensive.

"The money will be used to fund six main programmes that include addressing value chain issues like the establishment of Africa-based Biomedical Research Facilities (Centres) whose aim is to not only ensure local production of pharmaceuticals on the continent but develop precision medicine for the world," said Prof Ogolla in an interview.

The biomedical research facilities will help Africa build a database for Genomic Data (DNA data) which is necessary for informing the development of therapies in precision medicine.

According to Prof Ogolla, Africa contributes only one per cent of the global genomic data that is used in developing drugs but there will be a minimum of three in each urban centre in Africa.

The Ubuntu Fund will also go towards the establishment of Africa's Health Data Repository, a one-stop shop for all Health Informatics in Africa.

"This data will help in epidemiology and also in the development of both preventive and curative medicine in Africa. The Biomedical Research Facilities across Africa will be spokes that feed the Health Data Repository in order that Aheti can offer a one-stop shop in health informatics to all health and economic analysts and decision-makers," said Prof Ogolla one of the founders of the initiative in a phone interview.

The Ubuntu Fund will also establish four pharmaceutical tech labs across Africa which will be a shared resource where all the molecular and clinical trials for biological medicine will be done.

Once a manufacturer has developed therapy through the tech lab, they can now go and manufacture it and scale across Africa.

The initiative will give incentives to those who will manufacture quality yet affordable pharmaceuticals in Africa and for Africa.

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