Future of African Health Series: In conversation with Alice Kang'ethe

Olawale Ajose
May 25, 2023

Olawale Ajose

Olawale Ajose is a Managing Partner at Market Access Africa. He oversees expansion of the firm's capabilities in key strategic areas and is to co-lead of the Commercial Life Science Practice

This edition spotlights Alice Kang’ethe, Chief Operating Officer of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI).

Alice describes a complex picture with respect to the future of vaccine innovation and distribution on the African continent. She discusses public health success stories in addition to unaddressed challenges. Ultimately, new strategies to ensure equitable distribution of innovation will be key to achieving progress in African public health.

Watch the full video below, and read a few highlights below from our conversation.

On health equity as health security …

“There needs to be a push to decentralize manufacturing such that we don't have some people at the back of the queue. Everyone should have access to what's the best that science can provide to global humanity, to the global population. Because again, I like the lesson from COVID, that what we call ‘global health security’ means global health security for everyone.”

On bringing HIV innovations into the market…

“I was there in 2003 when they said that HIV [treatment] could not be done. It was too expensive to get the medicine…and it was too expensive to deliver.

If we took that, then we wouldn't have where we are. Millions of people on treatment living a healthy life. We wouldn't have access to prevention tools that continue to reduce the number of new infections. We have lessons, we have parallels to draw on, and what the national community needs to do is exactly what we did in 2003 -- say no, impossible is not an option.’”

On vaccine distribution…

“But [vaccine distribution] needs to be centralized such that Africans can access what science has to offer at the time that any other part of the world can access it.”

On lessons learned from COVID-19…

“The fact that most of the health products are from the outside…still means tomorrow, if we have another pandemic, the continent will still be at the back of the queue.

 We need to accelerate decentralization and availability on the continent.”


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