I-Talks social entrepreneurship as the driver of universal health coverage
I-TALKS plenary session organized by Villgro Kenya, Tangaza University and Social Enterprise Society of Kenya (SESOK) held on 5th April 2018 at Tangaza University College brought together key policy makers in government, investors, healthcare innovators and start-ups to discuss Social Entrepreneurship as the driver of Universal Health Coverage.
Universal healtlh Coverage is one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s key pillars of the Big Four Agenda and for the country to realise it there has to be a working relationship between the government, academia and the private business community.
The panel chaired by Rob Beyer Chairman Villgro Kenya comprised of Florence Kimata SME Advisor Min. Industry, Trade and Co-operatives, Chacha Marwa CEO & Co-founder Enzi healthcare, Hiroki Ishida Investment Director AAIC, Bro. Jonas Dzinekou from Tangaza University College and Jessica Vernon from Maisha Meds.
Participants reviewed the current social entrepreneurship ecosystem, considered a number of challenges standing in the way of attaining Universal Health Coverage and provided a few insights on how to go about them.
Mr. Chacha Marwa was quick to bring up the challenge of strict government regulations. He said that the government needs to tone down on the number of licenses required to set up a social enterprise in the health sector,
“There is a lot of bureaucracy within government for anyone who wants to set up a social business focusing on health. For a clinic for example you’ll need a license for the facility, the staff, the laboratory, the equipment and an array of many others clearance certificates all of which cost money, something start-ups do not have much of. This pushes start-ups to set up without necessarily formalising their business, the government needs to reduce the number of licenses required to set up businesses.”
Florence Kimata the SME Advisor Ministry of Industry, Trade & Co-operatives reiterated the claims on start-ups being hesitant to formalise their businesses and that the effect was there was very little documentation for accurate data analysis. She hinted that the government was doing its best to create a conducive start-up environment given that Kenya came in 3rd after Rwanda in the ease of doing business in Africa but there was always room for improvement.
On the part of policies Florence added that the government is trying to come up with Policies that drive bigger companies to work with start ups in the area in a bid create employment, promote social impact and widen the networks of start-ups in Kenya. She also highlighted to governments plans to provide start-ups with funds from a central government fund.
Br. Jonas hinted on the dyfunctional relatioinship between the academia and the government was a major challenge adding that there has to be a working relationship if Universal Health Coverage and in a broader picture the SDG’s are to be achieved. Training social entrepreneurs needs data which is vital for producing research, start-ups also rely heavily on the data generated for feasibility studies.
The opportunity for start-ups in Kenya to work closely with those in Japan was brought up by Hiroki Ishida of Asia Africa Investment & Consulting.
The closing remarks delivered by Dr. Robert Karanja, CEO of Villgro Kenya mentioned the innovation landscape and how start-ups can tap into incubators like Villgro Kenya to help advance towards Universal Health Coverage.