Health CS roots for policy and legislative shift to accelerate UHC Agenda


Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe says the national government remains committed to aligning current health related legislations with the constitution as the ministry moves to realize a fundamental policy shift in healthcare delivery.
Speaking in Mombasa during the council of Governors Consultative High-level meeting, the health CS said the government is envisaging a healthcare system that is more efficient and responsive to the needs of the people.
Reflecting on the meeting’s theme, reflections on policy and legislative experiences for accelerated delivery of the UHC Agenda at County level, the health CS said there was a need to critically look into legislative frameworks, some of which were developed before the promulgation of the 2010 constitution, if the country is to move to the next stage in healthcare reforms.
He said the health Ministry has introduced a host of initiatives meant to review some of the legislations to align them with the Constitution, Health Act, 2017, and Health Policy (2014-2030) in ongoing efforts to address how health services are covered, funded, managed and delivered.
“The 2010 constitution and the Health Act 2017 envisions a unified health system with seamless coordination between the national and county government health systems for the regulation of health care services and health care service providers, health products and health technologies, the CS observed.
Kagwe said an allied health professionals regulatory body has been proposed to cater for health cadres who are not regulated including radiographers, biomedical engineers, dental technologists, optometrists, Emergency Medical Technicians, Orthopedic technologists, morticians and medical social workers among others with the realization that some health professionals have been left out which has negatively impacted the quality of their training and practice.
He said lack of policies and strategies that speak to the UHC agenda has been remedied by the development of various Policies and Strategies including, the UHC Policy, Health Financing Strategy, Human Resources for Health Strategy and the Internship Policy. Others are community Health Policy and Strategy, Primary Health Care Framework, Kenya Heath Sector Partnership and Coordination Framework while the Referral Strategy and review of the Kenya Essential Packages for Health are underway.
Speaking at the same forum, Council of Governors Chair Martin Wambora said technical experts at COG have already prepared draft policy briefs that will help future stakeholders’ engagements meant to deal with existing health challenges. He lauded the national government for ongoing reforms that have seen significant advancements in the country’s health sector as well as parliament that he said has effected related health related legislations to support ongoing efforts.
USAID Kenya Director Mark Meassick, challenging the two levels of government to learn from past experiences and embrace concepts that appear to produce optimum outcomes.
COG Health Committee chair professor Anyang’ Nyong’o, while addressing the forum, said there was a need to develop policy directives that are practical, make sense and enable the health sector to overcome underlying challenges.
According to Dr. James Nyikal, a member of the national assembly committee of health and who was representing the committee chair Sabina Chege at the meeting, there was a need for integration and harmonization of functions under the national and county governments. He said Financing, human resource, supply and governance reforms remain key in transforming the health sector.
Senate’s departmental committee on health committee chair Dr. Mbito Maling’a, said the standing committee on health remains open and ready to consider any policy or legislative framework that will enable a conducive environment for health delivery as well as ensuring that county governments are held accountable for use of funds meant for delivery of health services.
Meanwhile, health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has challenged county administrations to support ongoing accelerated vaccination programme through fixed post health facilities and targeted outreaches as well as advocate for adherence to public social health measures in the wake of the Covid-19 omicron variant that is fast spreading across the globe.
“I ask all of you, excellency Governors’ to ensure that we ready our isolation and quarantine facilities, some of which we had closed due to the reduced case-loads, to deal with a potential surge in the number of cases we expect in the coming few weeks based on the rapidly increasing positivity rates, urged Kagwe.
The country has witnessed a steep increase in positive cases in recent days registering a positivity rate of 11.5% on Tuesday.