Kenneth Kwama

So far, Kenya has been lucky. It has been nearly two years since the bird flu outbreak emerged and more than eight months since the illness spread from its birthplace in Asia. Yet with more than 300 cases in at least eight countries to date, a disease that has rocked Asian markets, ruined the tourist trade of an entire region and spread panic through some of the world's largest countries has largely passed by.

Regional ministers converging on Kampala for a health finance conference were last week told that stringent aid requirements by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have made healthcare expensive and inaccessible to poor people in Africa. The Fair and Sustainable Health Financing (FSHF) summit, aimed at making funds available to ensure people have access to high quality public healthcare, was also told that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), are desperately more

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that eighty percent of the 11 million deaths that occur in Africa each year are as a result of preventable diseases. Dr Dick Johnson, an economist with the WHO, told a regional conference comprising regional health ministers and experts converging on Kampala that HIV/Aids, lower respiratory tract infection, malaria and diarrhoeal diseases are responsible for more than half of these deaths.