THE DEEP DIVE 16TH EDITION
We're discussing the pitfalls of privatization of healthcare, and a vaccination mandate that sounds "mandatory"
If any of you reading this edition have a family member who has an illness that has crippled not only their health but their finances, then you are likely part of an increasingly common experience not just here, but in many countries in Africa whose public healthcare system has itself, been crippled. In Kenya, at least 1 million people are pushed into poverty every year because of medical bills. So an easy assumption to make would be that privatizing healthcare would be a solution, right? Not if the experiences of countries across the world, including the United States are anything to go by. However, for years, there has been a concerted effort to expand private healthcare solutions to what should be one of Kenya's most important and best delivered public services, and the results have been devastating, according to a recently published report by economic and social rights center Hakiijamii and the Human Rights and Privatisation Project at New York University School of Law titled "Wrong Prescription".
"The private sector has generally concentrated on the most profitable forms of care, neglecting less commercially viable areas, patients, and services. In informal settlements, the private facilities that do exist are under-regulated, under-resourced, and low-quality—and too often unsafe or even illegal", write Bassam Khawanja and Rebecca Riddell. They are co-directors of the project at NYU. They are our guest writers in this edition of the newsletter, and make a powerful argument against this privatisation push.
On the subject of healthcare, Kenya's health secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced the radical measure to deny access to specific public services to un-vaccinated Kenyans. According to the most recent statistics, only 6.1% of Kenyans have been partially and fully vaccinated. It has taken Kenya 9 months to reach this threshold of slightly over 6.3 million vaccinations. This Thursday, we are hosting our "Join the newsroom" twitter space to discuss what is in other words, a mandatory vaccine mandate. As usual, we begin at 7pm local time. Don't be late, and bring your questions!
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IS PRIVATE HEALTHCARE THE WAY TO GO?
Kenya has since its colonial days, had a mix of both private and public healthcare solutions. Kenya trialed universal public healthcare in its early post-independance days, but opted for a co-pay system in the late sixties, as demands on the country's economic model grew. This heralded a spectacular collapse in the provision of quality public healthcare, and the rise of often hugely expensive private healthcare solutions. Kenya's current government has chosen access to universal public healthcare as a part of its "Big four" agenda, but for the past ten years, the country has also witnessed the expansion of private healthcare, some times driven by the most powerful of global lobbies. Just what's wrong with the model Kenya is proposing? Co-directors of the Human Rights and Privatisation project at the New York University school of law, Bassam Khawanja and Rebecca Riddell outline the findings of their report, "Wrong prescription - the impact of privatizing healthcare in Kenya". This report is a co-publication with Kenyan economic and social rights centre, Hakii Jamii. Here's the link to this story.
FROM "MURKY MEDICS" TO KENYA'S MYSTERIOUS MOBILE CLINICS; A RUNDOWN OF HEALTHCARE STORIES YOU NEED TO WATCH
Africa Uncensored has been busy over these past few years, investigating various aspects of public and private healthcare. Here's a watch-list of stories that will help you get caught up on the state of healthcare in Kenya:
1. Captured: Money, mystery and portable clinics: We investigate allegations of corruption related to Kenya's various portable clininc initiatives
2. Captured: Saving Esther (a 3-part investigative series): The series delves into one of Kenya's biggest health procurement scandals in recent times; the Managed Equipment Leasing Scheme. The series is told through the experience of Esther, a young Kenyan battling cervical cancer
4. Murky Medics: Africa Uncensored's senior reporter Kabugi Mbae tells the harrowing stories of Kenyans who have been failed by medics meant to cure them
For more stories, subscribe to our Youtube channel.
JOIN THE NEWSROOM: IS KENYA GOING THE MANDATORY VACCINATION ROUTE?
Join us this Thurday, November 25th at 7pm for our twitter space, where we will discuss Kenya's controversial decision to deny public services to un-vaccinated Kenyans beginning in December. Follow us on twitter @afuncensored for more details.
CALL FOR YOUNG JOURNALISM TRAINING
Africa Uncensored in partnership with the US Embassy is rolling out a young journalism training aimed at empowering young journalists from American Spaces with media literacy skills to counter disinformation. In addition, the roll-out will also see a mapping exercise of USG Alumni, Staff and American Spaces Toolkits that can be engaged for the program. The training, expected to use a participatory and localized approach which will focus on media ethics, research, interviewing skills, media law and storytelling.
With this, trainees will be tasked with writing and publishing stories on our Piga Firimbi Website. Many of the Fact-checks published on this platform will be used in the training, including videos which is a unique tool already being deployed. Deadline for this application is November 30, 2021.
Looking forward to receiving your applications!
Editorial Director: John-Allan Namu
Assignment Editor: Sam Munia
Social Media Manager: Cecilia Ashioya
Contributors: Nyakerario Omari, Kevin Mbugua, Bassam Khawanja and Rebecca Riddell
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