Launch!‘United Kingdom – East Africa Healthcare Partnerships’ Opportunities and Challenges

DATE: 26th October, 2012

VENUE: Uganda High Commission, London.

UK – East Africa Healthcare Partnerships.  Opportunities and Challenges.

We were honoured to have an inspiring set of speakers present at our launch.  Each speaker drew on their personal and professional experiences to highlight the opportunities and challenges they had encountered in the pursuit of healthcare partnerships.

Dr. Perry Mohammed, Medical Director of Janssen’s Global Access and Partnerships Programme, presented his company’s collaborative, not-for-profit programme that focuses on providing access to third-line antiretroviral medications to both adult and paediatric populations living with HIV/AIDS in resource poor settings.  An important arm of this programme involves clinical training workshops as well as facilitating clinical trials in often understudied populations.  Dr. Mohammed emphasised the importance of creating partnerships that responded to a local need and the learning process involved in the selection of individuals and institutions to partner with.

Mr. Moses Batwala, co-founder of Doctors for Africa (DFA), gave a very honest account of the triumphs, challenges and lessons learned  during the creation of his charity.  In his talk, Mr. Batwala reminded us that private-public partnerships are essential in the development of healthcare in East Africa.  In keeping with this theme, DFA plan to launch a private clinic in Kampala, Uganda in January 2013.  The profits from this venture will be channeled back into the charity to fund their charitable objectives and to facilitate the replication of this model across the East African region.

The final slot of the evening was shared by three speakers who have significant experience and interest in mobilising the African  diaspora.  Ruth Talbot from Comic Relief introduced the audience to Africa-UK, a Common Ground Initiative managed by Comic Relief and the Department for International Development (DFID) that aims to engage the African diaspora in Africa’s development.

Dr. Titilola Banjoko, MD of Africa Recruit  and steering group member of Africa-UK described the potential roles African diaspora healthcare professionals can play, specifically in informing and engaging in UK government funded projects in Africa. She reminded the audience to ensure that their passion was channeled into effective, collaborative programmes that had demonstrable impact.

Our final speaker was Andy Bacon, Associate Director of NHS NorthWest and former Chief Executive of Gertrude’s Garden Children’s Hospital in Kenya.  Andy is a long-standing advocate for diaspora engagement in mainstream programmes.  He made the audience aware of ongoing high-level partnerships between the UK and Africa.  Currently, there is a Zambia UK Health Workforce Alliance, co-founded by Lord Nigel Crisp in 2008.  There are plans to launch a Uganda-UK Health Alliance in early 2013.

The presentations were followed by a stimulating Q&A session and a networking reception.

We would like to thank Africa-UK for their support and endorsement and The Uganda High Commission for being wonderful hosts.

 More pictures from the event here.