Dr. Njoki Fernandes appointed as Kenya Medical Association CEO

KENYA – The Kenya Medical association (KMA), has appointed Dr. Njoki Fernandes to succeed Dr. Elizabeth Gitau as the associations’ new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Dr. Njoki is a seasoned all-round healthcare expert. She is a Consultant Obstetrician / Gynecologist and an alumnus of the University of Nairobi and Strathmore Business School.

Prior to this appointment, Dr. Njoki served as the Chief Health Advisor and Principal Consultant in the Healthcare Consulting Division at Minet Kenya Insurance Brokers.

Dr. Fernandes brings to KMA her vast experience in healthcare administration, financing, provision and risk management among many other skill sets.

Kenya Medical Association (KMA) is a voluntary membership professional body for medical and dental practitioners registered in Kenya, founded in 1968 and incorporated in 1973.

Its mandate was originally concentrated on welfare of doctors and operated largely as a member’s club.

Over the years, the Association has grown in stature and scope into a high-profile player and partner in many sectors of national development, at policy level as well as in operation of services directly and indirectly related to health.

It now plays a significant role in educating the public and advocacy for quality health care services delivery.

The association has been particularly vocal on issues concerning healthcare access and delivery to Kenyan citizens under the recommendations of a global health system.

Last month, the KMA public health committee published a report speaking toward the challenges facing attainment of Universal Health Coverage in Kenya.

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) refers to a global health system that ensures all individuals have access to quality healthcare services without having to endure financial destitution.

UHC has two fundamental goals: optimizing the impact of healthcare services, and eradicating financial crisis, impoverishment or bankruptcy that may arise from high healthcare costs (WHO, 2010).

In Kenya, the Universal Health Coverage pilot program was launched on 13th December 2018 in Nyeri, Kisumu, Machakos and Isiolo Counties. These counties were selected as pilot sites based on the prevalence of unique health needs among their populations.

However, of the four Counties, only Isiolo and Machakos carried the limping pilot to its’ uneventful conclusion. Kisumu was a non-start from the beginning and Nyeri eventually terminated the pilot due to financial constraints.

Kenya’s expenditure on health as a percentage of the total government expenditure oscillates between 4% & 6% when viewed against the 12% recommended in the Kenya Health Sector Strategic Plan, and the 15% in the Abuja Declaration which Kenya is a party to.

“Key gaps in resource allocation and mobilization along with oversights and lack of accountability in governance are some of the factors that have caused challenges in achieving Universal Health Coverage in Kenya,” reads the report.

The result has seen many Kenyans who live below the poverty line having to spend out of pocket for their health.

The association concluded that, for all Kenyans to enjoy health as a Human Right as in the Universal declaration of Human Rights and a constitutional right it is mandatory that government implements health financing agreements, improves human resources for health and bolster accountability in governance.

This will go a long way in getting Kenya on the path towards Universal Health Coverage offering all Kenyans an opportunity to receive quality care wherever they are and whenever necessary allowing all individuals to live productive and dignified lives irrespective of their ethnicity, race or religion.

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