Kenya

New Directorate of Preventive and Promotive Health Services to streamline public health in Kenya

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Interested in creating a national public health institute in Kenya, the Cabinet Minister for Health has designated the Directorate of Preventive and Promotive Health Services as the hub for NPHI development.  As a newly configured entity in Kenya’s recently restructured Ministry of Health, the Directorate brings together several components, such as the national disease control programs and the family health division, that previously functioned either independently or in different units.  The leadership recognizes the need for improved integration and coordinated working relationships among the newly co-located functional components to address fragmentation and optimize efficiency and effectiveness.

The overall goal of the project is to support the Directorate in its evolution to a highly functioning NPHI that serves as a prominent focal point for evidence-based public health decision making.  As a first step, and to improve the use of and demand for date for decision making, the enterprising leadership team is developing a pioneering series of monthly Policy Rounds for opinion leaders and policy makers.  Through the Rounds, decision makers will be provided data on timely topics in a way that is engaging and promotes discussions and decisions on immediate and emerging policy issues.  This activity, and other related efforts, will ensure sustainable “science to policy and practice” expertise and mechanisms within the Directorate and the Ministry.

An immediate challenge for the evolving NPHI is to ensure the optimal performance of core public health functions in the wake of Kenya’s recent devolution of authority and responsibility from the national to the county level.  IANPHI is therefore supporting a landmark meeting of officials from all 47 counties to consider and address the challenges associated with devolution, properly ‘cascade’ the MOH agenda to the county level, and ensure continuing and optimal performance of the core functions of public health. 

The Cabinet Secretary and Directorate leadership are also strong advocates for integration of emerging disease priorities into the programs and systems of the new NPHI to maximize efficient use of resources, strengthen program integration, and ensure delivery of effective prevention services.  As NCD prevention and control are particular priorities, IANPHI is supporting completion of a national strategic plan for addressing NCDs and development of an implementation roadmap for the NPHI.

To augment IANPHI’s support, the Public Health Agency of Canada will host a study tour for a Kenyan leadership team to share experiences, lessons learned, and best practices in NPHI development and organization.  Public Health England has offered long-term technical assistance to share its successful evidence-based policy model and provide essential training in communication and translation of science to policy.