East Africa Healthcare Federation Forms to Represent the Private Health Sector

On May 3 private health sector representatives from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda formally launched the East Africa Healthcare Federation in Kampala, Uganda. The Federation brings private sector stakeholders together under one umbrella body to advocate for policy change and to champion the interests of the private health sector in the region.

The private sector plays a critical role in delivering health services throughout East Africa. In Kenya, the private sector owns almost two-thirds of all health facilities and is the largest employer of health care workers.1 The private sector provides about a quarter of all health services in Tanzania2 and about half of all services in Uganda.3 While it varies by country, the private sector also trains large numbers of health workers across the region.

Historically, in many countries, national and sub-national groups collaborating to improve health care and address health workforce issues have found it challenging to ensure appropriate and consistent private sector representation due to the large number and different types of organizations that make up the private health sector. In recent years, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania have all established or strengthened national bodies to help bring the private sector voice more effectively to the table. The Federation provides opportunities to share experiences, challenges, and innovations even more widely across the region. The Federation currently includes members from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda.

The launch was one of the outcomes of the first East Africa Healthcare Federation Conference held May 1–3 in Kampala. The Kenya Healthcare Federation, IntraHealth’s partner on the USAID-funded FUNZOKenya project, jointly organized the conference with the Association of Private Health Facilities in Tanzania. The conference brought together delegates from the public sector, private sector, nongovernmental organizations, training institutions, and development partners from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda.

IntraHealth’s James Mwanzia, FUNZOKenya chief of party, presented at the conference on the use of technology in training, enhancing public-private partnerships, increasing financial access for training, and issues of accountability. The FUNZOKenya project supports the government of Kenya in making dramatic changes to the country’s health worker education and training systems.

Read more about IntraHealth’s programs in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda.

1. The World Bank. 2010. Private health sector assessment in Kenya.

2. Tanzanian German Programme to Support Health, GIZ. [2010]. Private public partnership in health.

3. Ministry of Health, Uganda. Health sector strategic plan III 2010/11-2014/15.