Thursday, 17 October 2019 10:51

WALKING TOGETHER TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE

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In order to realize the aspirations of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Kenya, the Council of Governors together with the Ministry of Health held discussions to deliberate on key emerging issues in the 4 pilot Counties. The meeting chaired by H.E. Wycliffe Oparanya echoed a resolve to have all County Governments fully support the Universal Health Coverage so as to allow all Kenyans benefit from the program. However, he noted that in the implementation of UHC all parties must respect all actors. Oparanya called for a clarity in implementation of the project and the sources of financing of UHC as well as clear mechanism of flow of funds.
Health Cabinet Secretary, Mrs. Sicily Kariuki called for speedy resolve in addressing issues on Primary Health Care such as sanitation and nutrition. She noted that for success on the implementation of the Primary Care approach, the ministry will be looking at skills set within the Counties. In regards to medical Insurance, CS Kariuki noted that a review by a panel of experts brought out the fact that the current Civil servant scheme was the best performing scheme so far, however, the enhanced schemes have bad indications of the performance. A Proposal to have all the seventy four schemes under NHIF fall under one or three manageable umbrellas was something the Ministry was working on.
Presenting on UHC through its Primary Health Care approach, Ms. Susan Mochache, CBS, Principal Secretary, Health, appealed for the need towards reduction of “out of pocket charges” on Kenyans in order to access health services, adding that some of the lessons learnt was that Kenya faired below par in terms of the required number of health workers required to offer services. “There is need to recruit additional Community health workers in order to fill the gaps. I therefore suggest it be anchored into law in order to allow proper remuneration of these Community Health Workers”.
In terms of providing Primary Health Care, Ms. Mochache noted that the Country’s referral system is experiencing heavy challenges mainly being that most counties level 4 hospitals were overcrowded despite availability of other lower levels.
According to the Devolution and ASALs PS Hon. Julius Sunkuli, his ministry was working with the Council of Governors to develop a comprehensive framework of consolation and cooperation towards boosting its implementation forum.
Despite the challenges, Counties that are implementing UHC have also expressed their successes for instance in Isiolo County, Governor, Dr. Mohamed A. Kuti noted that the implementation of UHC was one of the feel good effects of a working devolved system, adding that the overflow of patients from neighboring Counties as an indicator for the much needed services countrywide. However, he called upon management of the whole system to ensure commodities are available for prompt service delivery.
Makueni Governor, H.E. Kivutha Kibwana, called for clarity in terms of the sources of funds to be provided by the National Government for the implementation of UHC.
Overall, both Counties and National Government agreed that the future of Affordable Universal Health Care in Kenya is very big, however due to ethical issues in the sector many companies are bleeding, thus what can Counties do? The Cabinet Secretary, MoH agreed that any pending issues need to be ironed out before its presentation to the summit late this year. Also present during the meeting were Governors from Kisumu, Bomet, Nakuru, Laikipia, Wajir, Isiolo, Nyeri, Turkana and County Executive Committee Members of Health from the Counties.

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