The first annual EAHF conference was held in March of 2012 in Kampala, Uganda at the Sheraton Hotel. The theme of the conference was, “Partnerships: Harnessing Opportunities through Innovation” and included sessions focused on advances and opportunities in medical technology, financial management in health services, partnerships, and regulations and healthcare financing. The Institute for Health Policy Management and Research (IHPMR) hosted a gala dinner for the first annual Health Market Innovation Awards. The conference boasted participation from various areas of the health sector from all over East Africa. The East Africa Healthcare Federation was launched and a communiqué on the same was signed to initiate the formation of the regional healthcare umbrella body.
Innovations and Developments
Africa carries the highest disease burden in the world and is faced with the twin challenges of growing demand for expensive acute care and limited ability to pay. Hospitals and clinics are designing new models to deliver efficient, cost effective healthcare. This session will explore the growth in innovative approaches to healthcare delivery in Africa, new technological developments, brand partnerships, and the success of a local pharmaceutical manufacturer in supplying the regional market, having attained the required international certification.
Advances and opportunities in Medical Technology
Advances in technology, in the form of smart cards and mobile money, have opened opportunities for private healthcare providers to operate profitably in the mass market. Such technologies combined with an appropriate HMIS are resulting in more efficient service delivery within the private health sector in East Africa. This session will explore key priorities in integration of this technology for maximum impact on the health sector.
Financial management in health services
This session will explore various ways in which the private health sector in East Africa can access financing. Private equity firms will share ways in which medium sized companies can benefit from equity partnerships, while options for debt financing will be discussed. Various models of financing available to government and aid agencies, such as output based financing, will be discussed in detail.
Public Private Partnerships
This session explores the relationship between government and the private health sector. If governments actively engaged with the private health sector, the pace for meeting the MDGs would be accelerated, easing the financial burden on governments. PPP’s exist on paper, but are not implemented in most African countries. An IFC study found that 39 out of 45 countries have a PPP policy, but only in 12 were they implemented. In many parts of rural Africa and in urban slums, the non-state actors are the only providers of healthcare. Governments must engage effectively with the private sector so that additional resources and the required management capacity are harnessed. The private sector can also provide critical innovations in the efficient and value for money delivery of health services.
Opportunities and Partnerships
This session will take an overview of such issues as human resource for health training and pharmaceutical supply chain in the region, and the importance of addressing such regional issues through an East Africa forum. The objectives of an East African Healthcare Federation will include promoting the interests of the private health sector at a regional level, striving for the highest scientific and ethical standards and supporting the national associations. The session will pave the way to forming an East Africa Healthcare Federation with nominations from the various national associations to form an interim committee. This session will also explore opportunities such as medical tourism and regional insurance collaborations which could allow medical providers to grow regionally
Regulations and Insurance
At least 50 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s total health expenditure is financed by out-of-pocket payments from its largely impoverished population. NHIF in Kenya has recently taken on the challenge of providing medical cover at low cost for a large population of government workers. Part of their solution was to use capitation schemes to deliver primary care. Rwanda provides a form of social health insurance with a small contribution from the individual. TZ has been rolling out an SHI scheme. The provision of SHI and the regulation of private medical insurance is a live issue in Uganda with a new insurance law enacted and a new IRA. This session will examine the experience of the different players in the region and what we can learn for best practice.