Tackling the health sector

In many developing countries in Africa the public health sector cannot keep up with the growing demands of the population, meaning access to good and affordable health care is not self-evident. As a consequence many people turn to the private sector but meet costs they can hardly afford. It’s one of the reasons that keeps low-income people jumping in and out of poverty

This is exactly what Pharmaccess tries to tackle. Pharmaccess is an NGO that approaches the health care sector from different angles at the same time. They work closely with the local administrators of existing milk-, coffee- or tea-cooperatives, who inform local farmers of the benefits of health insurance. With insurance in their pocket, farmers can now anticipate on the health care costs they’ll meet, and hence, use their money to invest elsewhere.

But the focus does not only lie on the patient’s side. Pharmaccess offers medical loans to doctors and their clinics, enabling them to improve their services and standard. Local banks actively monitor the payback of the loans and training schemes are set up to teach proper bookkeeping and administration.

Finally, as a way to ensure improvements meet a certain standard, SafeCare was introduced. SafeCare has developed internationally recognized clinical standards and a step-by-step program to increase the quality of health care. Recently, the Kenyan government has adopted SafeCare as the clinical standard to use. It addresses issues of hygiene and care of patients as much as it does proper management and patients rights.

By approaching the health care sector from these different angles, Pharmacces aims to improve health and lead to economic growth and development. For this project Pharmaccess asked me to cover their work in Kenya and Tanzania.

© 2013