How Global Alliance Africa is collaborating with Kenya to build a transformative bilateral collaboration in health innovation

Posted on: 16/01/2023

Global Alliance Africa delivered by Innovate UK KTN in partnership with the Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) hosted a Commercialisation of Research in Health roundtable event on 5th December 2022 at Kenya Innovation Week (KIW).

According to the World Health Organization, Africa carries 25% of the world’s disease burden, but its share of global health expenditures is less than 1%. In countries such as Kenya, health systems are burdened with limited access to healthcare facilities, lack of adequate personnel and expertise to address medical needs, and poor infrastructure where most facilities do not have the proper resources needed to address a variety of common medical issues. This has caused significant challenges for many Kenyans, as only 30% of the rural population has access to health facilities within 4km of their home, compared with 70% of the urban population.

To address these challenges, the President of Kenya, William Ruto, has declared Universal Health Coverage as one of the four strategic pillars that will see significant policy and administrative reforms in the medical sector. In doing so, Ruto aims to ensure that all Kenyans have access to quality and affordable medical coverage by 2022, and through a range of consultations with industry leaders and experts, has set out to understand how stakeholders in Kenyan healthcare can best cooperate and co-create impactful solutions to some of the biggest threats to Kenya and the global healthcare sector.

To aid the Kenyan government in this regard, the Kenyan team behind the Global Alliance Africa project delivered by Innovate UK KTN hosted a roundtable event on 5th December 2022. Forming part of the project’s Global Innovation Network (GIN) on Health – which aims to connect and unite the best minds in healthcare innovation, development and commercialisation across Kenya, the UK, and globally – the event was held in collaboration with the Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA) and sought to explore how Kenyan stakeholders can enhance the commercialisation of innovation in the health sector.

Together with the Department for International Trade (DIT), KeNIA gathered a group of participants and set an ambitious agenda to impact Kenya’s healthcare sector. The day’s key topics set the best foot on how to cooperate and co-create impactful solutions to some of the biggest threats to Kenya and the global healthcare sector. One of the biggest take-outs indicated during the roundtable was the need for a combined effort of the public and private sectors, including the extent of market competition, intellectual property regime, and availability of financing for innovative enterprises.

KIW Health Roundtable Panel
KIW Health Roundtable Panel

Reflecting on the event, Sheilah Birgen, Country Lead for Kenya at Global Alliance Africa, noted that:

Achieving universal health care coverage is a major task and priority for Kenya – but it also marks an important opportunity for international cooperation in Kenyan healthcare, particularly in the fields of research and development. As a project working to unlock Africa’s innovation potential through connection and collaboration, these discussions will go a long way in helping us identify and support relevant and new innovations with the potential to develop world-class healthcare science and research capabilities and industry strength.

These sentiments were echoed by Dr. Darius Ogutu, Director, University Education, who thanked the team from Global Alliance Africa and KeNIA for hosting the event, and called on attendees to constantly engage and work together, to realise a healthier and more prosperous Kenya.


About Global Alliance Africa

The Global Alliance Africa project is a six-year project funded by UK Aid through Innovate UK (GCRF) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

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This Innovate UK Global Alliance Africa 6-year (2019-2025) project funded by UK International Development aims to build new and stronger UK-African partnerships to maximise the creation of inclusive market access, funding and investment opportunities through innovation knowledge transfer between the UK, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.


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