Opposition leader Raila Odinga has called on African countries to challenge the dominance of America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by strengthening their research facilities.
“What have we done with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) and its equivalents across Africa. Let’s question the dominance of the US CDC over Kemri and its equivalents in Africa and seek ways to make these institutions independent and more attuned to Africa’s needs,” said the Orange Democratic Movement leader in a series of tweets on Sunday, April 26.
Raila, who is African Union High Representative For infrastructure Development, said that Covid-19 has badly exposed Africa’s healthcare infrastructure, indicating that we have only concentrated on prevention and cure.
Further, Raila called for the strengthening of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to continue with the provision of comprehensive medical cover.
“We need to review domination of our healthcare by donors in terms of funding and agenda setting while Kenya boasts of a very highly trained health workforce,” said Raila.
As of April 26, African countries had 30,329 confirmed coronavirus cases, 1,375 deaths and 8,409 recoveries.
North Africa has the highest cases of Covid-19 followed by West Africa and Southern Africa.
“When donors are overwhelmed in their own countries as is the case now, we are left badly exposed. Kenyatta University students have challenged us that with encouragement from the government and private sector, innovation for healthcare can be done here, by us,” said Raila.
Even as Raila calls on African countries to wean themselves of dependence on donors, Kenya is set to host an African Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Africa CDC) with China having pledged to fund construction of the Sh8.3 billion building to house the facility.
“The center will position Kenya as a regional and continental hub in medical research and disease control, and give the country a head-start in combating disease outbreaks like the current coronavirus pandemic,” said a statement issued on March 2020 by State House following a Cabinet meeting.