Supporting the East, Central & Southern African Health Community
As part of its ongoing commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, Kenya Airways, the Pride of Africa, recently supported the East, Central and Southern African (ECSA) Health Community in the second annual medical and surgical camp held in Swaziland, in October 2013, the first such event having been held in the Kingdom of Lesotho in 2012.
The ECSA Health Community was established in 1974 to foster regional co-operation in health and to promote the highest standards of health for individuals, families and communities through advocacy, capacity building, brokerage, co-ordination, inter-sectoral collaboration and harmonisation of health policies and programmes. It comprises ten member states, namely Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The ECSA secretariat is in Arusha, Tanzania.
Speaking during the launch of the camp and referring to regional co-operation, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Swaziland Dr. Stephen Shongwe said: “If you want to go fast, walk alone. If you want to go far, walk together. Africa can walk the talk in south-to-south co-operation. With neighbouring countries helping each other Swaziland has been able to save thousands of dollars,” he remarked.
The highly specialised medical and surgical camps being held in the region represent an innovative service modality recommended by the ECSA-HC Health Ministers in the delivery of specialised care to patients by providing free specialised medical and surgical services in hospitals that do not have their own staff specialists or regular specialised visiting physicians. They target vulnerable individuals who might otherwise not receive the service.
Medical and surgical camps also have the added benefit of reducing costs incurred by both the health care system and the patient, which are costs associated with patient transfer or travel to referral hospitals or academic teaching centres. For an individual living in a rural village, access to a medical practitioner or surgeon may be both difficult and expensive, and in many cases very near to impossible.
The inaugural ECSA Health Community camp was organised by the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Lesotho and ECSA Health Community and implemented by highly qualified and skilled medical experts from the ECSA region.
New partnership opens up more Far East destinations
Kenya Airways has recently signed a codeshare agreement with Garuda Indonesia, as it looks to expand its network coverage in the Far East. This deal is vital because it allows passengers flying the two airlines to connect seamlessly through Nairobi and Garuda’s Jakarta hub via Bangkok, Thailand. KQ’s Group Managing Director and CEO Titus Naikuni said that the new codeshare deal fits well with the airline’s long-term strategy to grow its network coverage across different regions globally. This deal follows the recent agreement with Air Namibia, which paved the way for daily connections between the airlines’ Nairobi and Windhoek hubs via Johannesburg in South Africa and Lusaka in Zambia. This brings to 17 the number of codeshare deals that KQ has so far signed with other airlines.
Mobile payments introduced
KQ’s Tanzanian customers can now pay for their air tickets through M-PESA, a mobile money transfer service run by Vodacom Tanzania. The new deal, which is the first of its kind in Tanzania, follows similar partnerships struck with Safaricom in Kenya and MTN in Uganda.
Flights resume to Juba
Even as the future of the newest state, South Sudan, remained in balance, Kenya Airways resumed its flights to Juba on 2 January 2014. This follows suspension of the flights to Juba between 24 December 2013 and 31 December 2013.
After a brief suspension of flights the airline passengers with unutilised tickets were offered a range of options depending on the nature of those tickets.
KQ Chief Operating Officer Mbuvi Ngunze assured customers that the airline would ensure proper management of the situation by reducing the backlog and resuming normal operations. “Travellers are advised to monitor the airline website to be aware of continued flight information,” he said. “The safety of our guests and employees is our highest priority and we will work in the coming days to resume normal service and to accommodate our guests.”