Govt. lays strategies to reduce health disparity

Kisii, Kenya, 30 March 2017 – Worldwide, increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, unanticipated disease outbreaks, and the race to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), place enormous expectations and responsibility on the role of health training institutions. Introduction of medical schools is therefore key to addressing healthcare issues. Government is keen in having  medical training institutions in all counties, to address the inequalities in healthcare, Health Cabinet Secretary (CS), Cleopa Mailu said on Wednesday.

He said Kenya has an estimate of 16.8 health workers per 10000 population, which is below the World Health Organization standard of 22. This is compounded by uneven distribution and shortage of existing workforce and infrastructure across counties.

Then CS also singled out healthcare cost as a major driver of poverty in Kenya, barring about 13 percent of sick Kenyans from seeking healthcare. Out of pocket expenditure comprises more than a quarter of total health expenditure. “We therefore need to leverage on joint initiatives to address these disparities across the counties. We shall formulate dynamic polices to enable the counties to deliver on their mandate,” said Dr. Mailu.

The CS spoke during the opening of the first Lake region Health Investment conference at Kisii University grounds. He pointed out that health infrastructure and financing, human resource are key elements in the healthcare delivery system.

Kisii County Governor James Ongwae stated that counties require more healthcare facilities to complement the referral centers. He revealed that the county of Kisii is in the process of establishing a cancer centre to serve the lake region bloc.

The lake basin region economic bloc consists of 13 counties – Kakamega, Kisii, Vihiga, Bomet, Kericho, Homabay, Nyamira, Bungoma, Migori, Trans Nzioa – which have been instrumental in putting systems and structures in place to address specific health service delivery needs within each of the county. Specifically, in reproductive health, the block has instituted strong strategies to reduce maternal mortality from 144.2 to 92.8 per 100,000 live births.