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February 17, 2019

Johnson & Johnson to make hospital consumables at new East Africa hub in Nairobi

Peter Kimuu , head of policy, planning and health financing at the Ministry of Health, during the opening of the Johnson&Johnson operations hub in Nairobi on Thursday, March 9, 2017. /COURTESY
Peter Kimuu , head of policy, planning and health financing at the Ministry of Health, during the opening of the Johnson&Johnson operations hub in Nairobi on Thursday, March 9, 2017. /COURTESY

Healthcare products manufacturer Johnson & Johnson has set up an East African operations hub in Nairobi.

The company, in a major shift in its market strategy, will now depart from the initial business set up where it worked through distributors.

They said the move will help them understand the market better and come up with innovations that will solve the country's health problems.

Jane Griffiths, Group chairman Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in Nairobi on Wednesday that new vaccines and devices for better disease management will be manufactured in the Nairobi hub.

"Having a foot in the region will allow us to better understand the realities and the challenges specific to East Africa and come up with solutions which best addresses health issues in the region," Griffiths said.

She added that the choice on Nairobi as the regional hub was arrived at because of political stability and the market potential for their products.

Jaak Peeters , Johnson &Johnsons global head of public health, said that the company has already developed an ebola vaccine.

"We have also developed a cure for the multi-drug resistant strain of TB," Peeters said.

The Nairobi office becomes the third after that of Ghana which was launched on Tuesday.

Johnson & Johnson has its other office in South Africa.

"Specifically, our team will prioritise issues that matter most to Kenya, including multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) and the increasing burden of chronic disease, as well as continuing our focus on HIV and maternal, child and newborn health," Vittorio Sereni, Johnson & Johnson Kenya country manager, said. 

Peter Kimuu, head of policy, planning and health financing at the Ministry of Health, said that the health sector needs more input from private sector players in order to improve services.

He represented Health PS Nicholas Muraguri at the meeting.

"The healthcare sector is a Sh240 billion economy. But what is important to us as a government is to ensure services are not only accessible but also affordable," Kimuu said.

The entry of the company will definitely help us address issues of drugs and equipment which still remain a challenge in the country,” the official said.

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