First Lady Margaret Kenyatta today said there is need to re-assess our public health policy to re-align it with emerging issues of the 21st Century.
She underlined the need to explore alternative methods of treatment based on well researched solutions backed by scientific data.
“We need to re-evaluate our public health policy and adapt it to address a host of new issues facing citizens in the 21st century”, said the First Lady when she graced the Alison Caroline Institute, Spa and Wellness Networking Forum at a Nairobi Hotel.
She also emphasized the need for Kenyans to expand the conception on courses of “treatment “ to include not just hard pharmaceutical drugs and procedures, but softer approaches involving natural treatments and lifestyle changes.
“We need to legitimize multifaceted approaches to our wellness, and to empower our scientific community to invest in research into alternative treatments, so that the solutions we propose to deal with health challenges, are backed up by data”, said the First Lady.
As Kenya develops and moves past the traditional health challenges of the last 50 years, said the First Lady, there is great need to evolve in our understanding of well-being and approach health from a more holistic perspective.
She said “being healthy” does not merely mean the absence of physical diseases but the presence of physical, emotional, cognitive, social and physiological vitality.
Kenya is among several African countries where the Spa and Wellness Industry is growing significantly and Wellness tourism taking off.
South Africa leads other countries on the continent that generate millions of dollars per year from tourists attracted to the country’s estimated 200 Spas and Wellness Centres.
In Kenya this sector started picking within the last 10 to 15 years and several leading hotels and lodges have taken the lead in investing in high quality spas and wellness facilities.
Besides its unique tourist attractions , the Spa and Wellness Sector is likely to grow faster in Kenya due to its globally recognized natural hot-springs.
“Around the world, including here in Africa, countries have realized the economic benefits associated with growing their local Wellness and Spa industries. They are capitalizing on this opportunity and, for many of them, without the competitive advantage we have in the name of our vast natural resources including our hot springs and exotic locations”, she said.
Both Spa and Wellness sector holistically encompasses areas of skin care, body therapies, fitness, nutrition and general wellbeing.
The First Lady said the Spa and Wellness industry holds great potential and promises to yield significant health and huge economic benefits.
“A dynamic wellness and spa industry would offer young people more opportunities to leverage their diverse talents and gifts and apply them within professional contexts’, said the First Lady during the event also attended by Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Co-operatives , Adan Mohamed.
She welcomed investors and stakeholders who have shown interest to invest locally in the Spa and Wellness industry saying Kenya should not be left behind in this trend.
The First Lady however called on the stakeholders to develop a conducive environment that offers appropriate educational training programs that create qualified personnel to support the Spa and Wellness industry.
Spas and wellness centres in the continent are regulated and standardized by the Spa and Wellness Association of Africa (SWAA) which was founded in 2010 to develop and maintain internationally recognized standards and education among its members.
Other speakers at the forum included the Chairman of the Kenya Tourism Board Jimi Kariuki, SWAA Founder/President Mrs Elaine Okeke Martin and the founder of the Alison Caroline Institute, Ms Alison Ng’ethe.