Pandemic response lessons a boost to UHC, says President

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020 00:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta this morning at State House, Nairobi opens a conference organised by the Kenya Council of Governors on building resilience to deal with future pandemics. Photo/PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday said lessons learnt from global and national response to coronavirus disease will go a long way in the national roll out of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country.

The President said this is the time to utilise knowledge gained to structure UHC to promote preventive medicine over symptomatic care.

“A shift from symptomatic response under Covid-19 to structural response under UHC, must be well thought out.

How, for instance, will the environment respond to this shift and what are the enablers and disablers of this undertaking,?” he posed.

Uhuru made the remarks as he lauded efforts put in place so far to fight coronavirus disease saying they have contributed immensely to gradual flattening of the curve.

“We have done remarkably well and that is why we have begun to flatten the curve. 

But to do better, we must remain brutally honest with our approaches, because intellectual honesty is critical to building resilience,” said the President.

Resilience in Covid-19 fight

He made the remarks from State House during the Covid-19 virtual conference organised by Council of Governors themed County Government Resilience in the Covid-19 era: Building Sustainability for the Future.

Uhuru said counties should bank experiences of the last six months on three elements.

Key among the elements cited by the President is a pre-mortem analysis, which is about early warning and more fundamentally about long term responses.

“Pre-mortem analysis will help us chart the path to sustainable health provision for all. 

Using this model, the conference should, therefore, give us counsel on how to promote preventive medicine over symptomatic care,” said Uhuru.

He said the pre-mortem analysis should guide the country on how to use lessons learnt from Covid-19 experiences in order to anchor full national rollout of the UHC.

“This conference of experts and stakeholders should use pre-mortem analysis to guide us on how to build positive resilience out of the Covid-19 experience,” the  Head of State noted.

The President urged counties to also do a post-mortem analysis of how the crisis has been handled six months after it became manifest.

“How does our national response compare with others within the region, the continent and the world? 

Is there something we could have done better and are there lessons we should carry with us to the strategic phase of this war,” he said.

The President also cited the need for in-mortem analysis. The President said the world is in the middle of a crisis hence the need to analyse it as it unfolds and changes form, even as the curve is beginning to flatten.

“We must celebrate this happy moment with caution. More so because, a curve begins to flatten after it reaches its highest point.

This point is also called the inflexion point and it is the most dangerous point because, the curve can either flatten and de-escalate, or take an upward surge,” Uhuru warned.

To achieve resilience to the current Covid-19 and future health challenges, the President called for a shift from tactical responses to more long-term strategic approaches.

“We must use this experience and lessons learnt to ‘build-back better’ and to create a society capable of absorbing shock and emerging on top but most crucially, a society which unites when called upon to do so in the face of such a monumental challenge,” he added.

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