The subject on the use of innovations to improve maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) has attracted a lot of interest within the health sector globally. In August 2010, the Kenyan Government launched a maternal and newborn health road map aimed at accelerating the reduction of maternal and newborn mortality geared towards achieving the millennium development goals. Unfortunately, at a moment where the country expects that millennium development goal five advocating for reduction in maternal and child mortality would be achieved, there’s still little evidence that Kenya is on the track to meet this health goal.
In light of this, the Center for Health Market Innovation (CHMI) partnered with Africa Capacity Alliance (ACA) to convene a series of roundtable discussions (RTDs) that focus on highlighting the role that private sector innovations can play in accelerating MNCH. The two partners held their second RTDs on February 5, 2015 at Strathmore Business School in Nairobi, to follow up on discussions from the first RTD. The aim was to find sustainable solutions to challenges in Kenya’s MNCH delivery with a keen focus on forming partnerships to work on improving health seeking behavior for expectant mothers and improving information management through health management information systems.
The exclusive half-day event that attracted key stakeholders from a rich representation of investors, innovators and government officials began with opening remarks from the ACA Executive Director, Caroline Simumba. In her remarks, Ms. Simumba spoke passionately about the need for creating an understanding on the approaches required to bring innovations to scale and establish partnerships that have high impact on the MNCH ecosystem.
“We need to determine how we can tap into the demand for services, partnerships, organized delivery, and better information systems by identifying partners who can support us in realizing this objective. There’s so much money available for scaling up innovations. I get the feeling that we’re either not moving fast enough or we’re not having the right kinds of conversations required in order to start affecting the MNCH ecosystem at national level.”—Caroline Simumba, ACA Executive Director.
Presentations from county health representatives also highlighted existing gaps in respective counties, allowing participants to further brainstorm on strategies to employ so as to set the pace for subsequent RTDs. Participants established that using the community health strategy to guide in monitoring and research on MNCH delivery could be the key to leveraging desired outcomes for MNCH in the country.
“It is paramount for investors especially within the private sector to see the value for money invested. Investing in research, monitoring and communication could be the best approach to take in order to avoid replication. By addressing the whole capacity building package and providing evidence for specific advantages tied to adopting an innovation would be a good starting point.” – Janet Shivachi, World Vision.
Lydia Karimurio from the Ministry of Health, Kenya also noted that health does not start with the ministry of health; but with individuals, partners and the community around them. She added that partnerships should be enforced to improve the health of our society while pointing out the Ministry’s commitment to address the existing gaps, and support innovations and ideas to improve MNCH in the country.
To wrap up the day’s discussions, participants agreed that the government has a role to play in mapping out stakeholders and creating linkages with private investors that have a stake in the community. They also emphasized the need for packaging the community health strategy such that private sector stakeholders are able to clearly understand and tackle existing MNCH gaps. Discussions on actual partnerships between the public sector and innovators will be continued, with the aim of enabling a conducive, market ecosystem that taps into the private sector to address public health challenges.
View the full session report here. RTD2-Report.docx
This blog originally appeared on Africa Capacity Alliance's website.