Kenya on course to achieving 100 percent universal healthcare goal

KENYA – Kenya has announced that the government is still on track to provide 100% Universal Health Coverage for essential health services, in line with the WHO recommendations.

Speaking Tuesday during his State of the Nation Address, President Kenyatta urged the Senate to expedite the consideration of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (Amendments) Bill, 2021, recently passed by the National assembly so that all join in ushering Universal Health Coverage.

“Mr. Speaker, Hon. Members, let us tear down the barriers that inhibit our quest to deliver quality health care for all Kenyans,” he said.

Regarding affordability of healthcare, President Kenyatta noted that Kenya has the highest budgetary allocation for health in East Africa which currently stands Sh121.1 billion for the year 2021.

Our sizable health budget will be used to expand access to primary health care services, ensure free maternity, eliminate user fees for public primary care, and subsidized health insurance for the elderly and people with severe disabilities,” he said.

On the uptake of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), the president noted that the membership has steadily grown with 10.5 million members, up from just 4 million members in 2013, an increase of 163%.

President Kenyatta also revealed that in his tenure, the number of medical facilities increased by 43% by building an additional 1,912 new hospitals in eight years.

“In previous years, only 4,430 hospitals had been built in Kenya, an average of 37 hospitals per year. We have built during that period 6 times more hospitals than overall four previous administrations,” said Kenyatta.

And to ensure that access to healthcare is cascaded to the lowest administrative unit, the president stated that level 5 hospitals increased by 44%, level 4 by 9%, Level 3 by 34%, and level 2 by 49%.

On reproductive Health care, the president stated the Linda Mama Programme, which has led to the increase of birth deliveries by skilled providers from 43 per cent to 62 per cent. This has also fostered a decline in maternal mortality rates by 26 per cent.

Moreover, he said, Linda Mama has benefited 5,843,307 women and has saved Kenyans Sh81.4 billion through the health insurance component of the programme.

“During one of my inspection visits to Mukuru Kwa Rueben, an informal settlement in Nairobi, I was saddened to learn that 500,000 people were being served by a private health facility, which had only 8 maternity beds.”

Besides the 15 fully-fledged health centers within Nairobi Metropolis: among them, Muthua-Uthiru Health Centre, Tasia Health Centre, Ngumba-Mathare Health Centre, Lucky-Summer Health Centre, and Kayole-Soweto Dispensary, construction works are ongoing for additional 10 facilities within the Metropolis.

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