Friday, 02 February 2018 06:14

Melinda Gates meets Governors

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Ms. Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on January 25th, 2018 met with Excellency Governors of 15 Counties and discussed the importance of quality, regular and timely health data for decision making on resource allocation and overall investment in the health sector. Melinda shared with the Governors the passion and commitment of the Gates Foundation in addressing education, socio-economic, family planning and reproductive health gaps in Kenya. The Foundation recognizes that less educated women tend to have more children more frequently than they would desire due to lack of knowledge and access to family planning commodities and this aggravates the vicious cycle of poverty in disadvantaged families in rural, arid and semi-arid areas. Led by H.E. Josphat Nanok, Chair of the CoG and H.E. Mohamed Kuti, Chair of Health Committee, the Governors shared with Melinda Gates some of the innovations and successes they have achieved in their counties as Government and with support from the Gates Foundation, investing in family planning, community health, nutrition and education to uplift the socio-economic status of households. The meeting recognized that targeting the youth in and out of school with the right information on sexuality responsible adulthood will empower and save young girls from unwanted pregnancies.

With consensus that availability of reliable data is a big gap across counties, the Governors agreed that health records management should be revamped through the use of modern technology in collection, transmission and analysis, including through community health volunteers with simple smart phones. Several counties have already recognized the role of community health workers, some through County Assembly legislation.  

Acknowledging that the policy environment is important for successful family planning programming, the Governors underscored the need for policy makers to speak with one voice and exploit existing policies such as the Sessional Paper No. 3 of 2012 on Population Policy for National Development.

Melinda informed the Governors that the Gates Foundation supports the Performance Monitoring and Accountability (PMA 2020) which uses innovative mobile technology to routinely gather data on family planning and water, sanitation and hygiene and other health areas. PMA2020 provides rich information useful for reporting, planning, operational decisions and will be able to support the Counties in strengthening data collection and use in budgeting.

Despite the many demanding priorities and budget constraints, the Governors shared with Melinda the extent to which the counties have allocated between 20%-30% to health and their desire to take a holistic approach to improve service delivery through evidence-based decision-making. The Governors will therefore close ranks with the Gates Foundation to identify the gaps, use technology to support data generation and use, and invited Melinda to consider visiting one of the counties during her next visit to Kenya in future. The County Governors were from Kericho, Makueni, Kilifi, Isiolo, Turkana, Bomet, West Pokot, Kitui, Kakamega, Siaya, Mandera, Nandi, Bungoma and Nyeri.

The Gates Foundation has been supporting programs on family planning and reproductive health in Kenya through implementing partners in some of these counties and Melinda had selected and invited the 15 Governors through their lead Partner in Kenya, JHPIEGO.

Read 132 times Last modified on Wednesday, 07 February 2018 13:07

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