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Kenya’s drive towards Universal Health Care

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Universal health care as per the WHO is provision of a well-functioning health system: Photo / Courtesy

The Council of Governors (CoG) together with the Ministry of Health held a joint meeting to discuss the initiative towards ensuring Universal Health Care (UHC) for all Kenyan citizens.

The initiative, in line with the ‘Big Four Agenda’, rolled out by President Uhuru Kenyatta for his second and last term that ends in 2022.

Health access for all
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According to the CoG, the initiative will ensure the 50 plus million Kenyans access affordable health care by 2022.

“In views of the President’s agenda to provide universal health care for all citizens of Kenya, the CoG committee on health in partnership with the Ministry of Health, National Housing and Insurance Fund (NHIF) and the Word Bank has developed a four-year plan with regards to the implementation and attainment of UHC,” said governor Nanok of Turkana.

“Counties will, therefore, partner with the national government to fast track the gazetted facilities within their jurisdiction to enable NHIF accreditation”, the CoG chairman added.

Expanding areas

The three broad areas to be expanded include health insurance by upgrading community based insurances, strengthening primary healthcare through the increase of human resource and financial inclusion through tax-based financing.

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Governor Nanok added that the proposed initiative implementation will target elderly and persons living with disability.

the proposed initiative implementation will target elderly and persons living with disability: Photo / Courtesy

The other target group is children under 5-years old, pregnant women and High school students.

The president had previously rolled out a plan for high school and secondary school students that was to begin in early January 2018.

The governors also resolved to lobby for the piloting of the UHC in all the 47 counties as opposed to the initial plan of only 4 counties.

Importing doctors

The CoG also reviewed and welcomed the president’s importation plan of 100 doctors from Cuba to work in two national and referral hospitals and, selected County hospitals.

Governors set to sign a memorandum of understanding to operationalize the work from June this year.

“Doctors will train County Health Workers on Malaria vectors control and on the management of HIV, Hepatitis and Diabetes.” said the governor.

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Universal health care as per the WHO is provision of a well-functioning health systems including leadership and Governance and, health financing.

Other universal healthcare determinant are human resources for health, health information systems, essential medical products and technologies and, service delivery.

National statistics

Kenya is ranked at position 140 out of 190.

To attain the universal mark in the health sector, Kenya needs to employ at least 16,278 clinical officers, 13,141 doctors and 38,315 nurses in the public health sector.

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So far, Makueni County is the first to have piloted the UHC under Governor Kivutha Kibwana in 2017 December through the constructing of an additional 59 new dispensaries and renovation of 60 others.

Governor Kibwana was among the keynote speakers who graced the event alongside Dr. Julius Maina (PS Planning), Prof.Khama Rogo (World Bank), Dr. Amit Thakker (Africa Health Care Federation) and Dr. Githinji Gitahi (AMREF).

By George Ogallo

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