SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY MARGAGET KENYATTA DURING THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE AFRICA STEMI LIVE 2017 CONFERENCE, RADISSON BLU HOTEL, FRIDAY 21ST APRIL

On August 15, 2018 In Statements and Speeches

The Chairman - AFRICA STEMI Initiative, Dr. Mohamed Jeilan; Esteemed members of the Cardiac Society, Visiting professors and distinguished members of faculty, Conference participants, Ladies and Gentlemen Good evening. It gives me great pleasure this evening to be among this vibrant group of professionals.  I have been truly inspired by the passion, effort and drive of all the speakers, by their tireless commitment, by the challenges they face, and by their insights into how we can collectively address the rising epidemic of heart disease in Kenya and Sub Saharan Africa. I applaud the organizers for hosting this conference, and providing a stimulating environment where participants will inspire and be inspired to come up with a joint vision at the end of the conference. As a country, we are honored to host this unique gathering of world renowned medical experts, from all over the world, including the USA, UK, Asia, and various parts of the African continent. The conversations you have will affect the lives of millions of people in the world. The revolution in health over the years has dramatically changed our health landscape - shifting our focus from infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases. This has contributed to a crippling “double burden of disease” that many African countries are ill equipped to cope with - leading to major challenges to the already fragile capacity of our health systems. We have heard that heart disease has been projected to take over as the leading cause of mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa by the year 2030.  Sadly, the disadvantaged communities continue to bear the brunt of this disease. The younger people, who also the working generation, have also been largely affected, creating a cascade of societal and development challenges. As a continent that faces unique development challenges, we must urgently look for innovative, practical and custom made solutions to accelerate progress in reducing the deaths and disability that occur as a result of heart disease. Research, data and knowledge must also be reliable to inform health policy decisions, investment priorities and resource allocation, as well addressbarriers that contribute towards this significant gap in medical care. As a country, I believe we have understood that health is a precursor to development and growth. We also know that it is only healthy people who can be productive and successfully contribute at all levels of our economic growth. Achieving our health goals has required implementation of key legislation and policy interventions, as well as strategic investments not only in expanding access, but in diagnostic and human capacity. The Government, through the Ministry of Health has committed resources, training - and in 2016 launched the Managed Equipment Service program to expand access to diagnostic and care across the country. Dealing with this new health phenomenon requires a cultivation of reliable and strong partnership both in public and private sector, between professionals, governments and development partners. Just looking at this incredible group that represent renowned medical experts and professionals, governments, private sector and international partners – I am convinced that across the board, we get the importance of heart disease management.  I have no doubt that we, as a country and as a continent, have what it takes to advance our strategy for tackling the cardiovascular disease. So, I think for that we must thank the AFRICA STEMI for this important initiative that has successfully brought together professionals with diverse expertise from different parts of the world. We must also commend all the other local and international organisations for setting up professional working groups tasked with research, public awareness and implementation of heart attack management solutions. Let us together strengthen our resolve and commitment towards heart attack management in Africa and in the world. It is now my pleasure to declare the AFRICA STEMI LIVE 2017 conference officially open. THANK YOU.

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