Obama finally fixing health care … in Kenya

By Steve Peacock

Though the federal government is struggling to make Obamacare functional for Americans, the administration is simultaneously helping to upgrade the health-care system in Kenya.

The ambitious plan to expand health-care and social-services access to millions of Kenyans is one of several recent U.S. endeavors to surface, indicating that yet another spike in assistance to Kenya is taking place.

As WND reported, the U.S. Agency for International Development in June 2012 alerted contractors that its Kenyan aid portfolio was growing “exponentially.”

Now, the most recent endeavor is the enhancement of an existing “five-year mission supporting the centralized health-care system in Kenya.”

In addition to heaping the cost of the programs on U.S. taxpayers, part of the plan strips responsibilities from a U.S. contractor and transfers it to a Kenyan company, according to planning documents WND discovered via routine database research.

Although the Kenya Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare, or AMPATH, consortium is largely funded by international donors, the U.S. will pay for segments of its modernization. Its goal is to “expand and improve AMPATH integrated health system.”

The AMPATHplus initiative on a technical level will consolidate the organization’s various software systems into a single business management system; however, USAID also will transfer financial and administrative control of AMPATHplus “from the current American contractor to a Kenyan contractor” as it deploys this enterprise resource planning, or ERP, software system.

Kenya’s Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Moi University and partner Indiana University will retain operational control of the AMPATHplus project. But now it will do so through a management board representing those entities, the document says.

Among other targeted results, USAID is seeking contractor assistance to:

  • Continue social services initiatives that AMPATHplus currently performs;
  • Expand the Kenya Essential Package for Health primary care services from the current 500,000 to 750,000; and
  • Develop community-based outreach workers to identify and follow up with pregnant women in a target population of 2 million people.

USAID separately launched the Kenya-based U.S. Trade and Investment Center, or TIC, a potentially $70 million initiative aiming to boost the economies of East African nations.

The agency acknowledged that the East African Community – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda – has “one of the fastest growing economic communities in the world, growing faster than all other economic communities in the last decade.”

USAID nonetheless deems it necessary to intervene, as “the volume and variety of intra-regionally traded goods remains markedly less than those of other trading blocs” such as Europe and Asia, the PIC Statement of Work laments.

Additional obstacles to increased intra-regional trade include substandard “operational efficiency and infrastructure” of major ports in Mombasa, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Regional efforts to improve the shortcomings are underway, but USAID believes “progress has been slow.”

East African railways, likewise, are “highly inefficient and not yet competitively cost-effective with roads,” so U.S. taxpayers must help correct such impediments, according to the agency.

USAID in another Kenya-specific initiative will pour upwards of $55 million into a reading program over the next four years.

The agency last week alerted contractors about the Tusome Early Grade Reading Program, “a basic education initiative to improve the reading skills of the approximately 5.4 million individual Kenyan children who will begin primary school during the 2014-2017 school.”

Tusome, which means “Let’s Read” in Kiswahili, initially will be carried out by a contractor, but the program will “consider a transition to government ownership” in later years, according to a recently released bid request.

WND recently reported that the U.S. Trade & Development Agency, an independent White House unit, awarded a $300,000 grant to help Kenyan and other East African power companies more effectively tap into the U.S. Treasury.

The USTDA grant purportedly will complement Obama’s Power Africa initiative – a multi-billion-dollar effort that is moving forward despite concerns that a new public-private bureaucracy is needed simply to overcome the pervasive corruption and incompetence of African governments and power utilities.

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