CS calls for concerted efforts towards Universal Health Coverage. Nairobi, KENYA February 27, 2019










The Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Health, Sicily Kariuki has called for strengthened inter-sectoral collaboration to address the social determinants of health by building the capacity of health authorities.

Addressing the 12th health sector Intergovernmental Consultative Forum dedicated to address the status of Universal Health Coverage in the 4 pilot counties and the preparedness for country-wide roll-out, the CS confirmed that the UHC Program has been well received by Kenyans in the 4 counties with increased utilization of health services observed.

She revealed that adequate supply of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical supplies by KEMSA stands at 99% of tracer medicines and 95% of tracer non-pharmaceuticals availed to health facilities, funds for operations and maintenance for level 4 and 5 facilities have been disbursed and standardization for laboratory and radiology diagnostics is ongoing.

The CS emphasized that the ministry’s approach to achieving the Universal Health coverage goal is through removal of user fees at levels 4 and 5 facilities and ensuring commodity security through KEMSA.

“We are also providing conditional grants to 4 UHC pilot counties for health system strengthening as well as primary health care interventions. With these additional resources, counties will be expected to strengthen the Primary Health Care network with a focus on community health systems,” she noted.

The CS urged the county leadership to improve efficiency in health service delivery to ensure investments yield expected results and give priority to expansion of frontline services, particularly primary health care; scaling up investment in skilled health workers; improving access to medicines and health technologies and innovating to meet the health needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups.

She also acknowledged that even though the country has made significant progress there are some falling health indicators. This includes 27 out of 47 counties reported fully immunized child rate of less than the national average of 82% in December, 2018; 15 counties have remained silent in reporting acute flaccid paralysis for polio virus which is a risk for polio virus outbreak; as well as incidences of disease outbreak have become more common than ever before, she noted.

To operationalize UHC, the CS revealed that the Ministry of Health is implementing significant reforms at policy and operational level and has constituted panel of experts to reform NHIF.  The panel has been given 90 days to submit their recommendations to the ministry.

She revealed that the next step of pilot phase of UHC will involve increase in uptake and utilization of Community Health Volunteer’s (CHVs’) services, Investment in standardization of diagnostics such as Laboratory and radiology and prioritization of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) program in the pilot counties for biometric registration of patients.

Other reform areas include institutional reforms to support UHC targeting NHIF and KEMSA, Strengthening monitoring of health facilities under the UHC pilot phase, Health system strengthening in the 43 non pilot counties and ensuring ring-fencing of funds being sent to the counties for UHC use to ensure that they are put into the right use.