UHC makes a good investment, CS Kariuki

Nairobi Wednesday November 6, 2019 – Investments in Universal Health Coverage (UHC) are impactful and will hold higher merit for every Kenyan family.

Speaking  during the Kenya Editor’s Guild Press Club Luncheon on Universal Health Coverage – Keeping the Promise, the Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said UHC has potential to ensure that children do not miss out on essential immunizations, and mothers do not die while giving birth.

So far the CS said the pilot of the Universal Health Coverage which was launched on 13th December 2019 in four counties – Nyeri, Kisumu, Isiolo and Machakos in order to inform the national scale of UHC, has been successful and has also brought forth critical best practices, lessons and gaps that will inform scaled up implementation.

The key successes from the lesson include, increased access to health facilities, improved Health seeking behavior and has reaffirmed the global evidence that investments in Primary Health Care are able to meet at least 80% of the burden of disease in our communities, she noted.

“We have a record increase in outpatient and inpatient visits ranging from 20- 50%. This means that poor and vulnerable groups who were previously unable to access health services are now able to,” she said.

Kariuki noted that moving forward with UHC the country will now be focusing on primary healthcare, progressively address the gaps in Human Resources for Health by ensuring that there is availability of skilled and qualified staff, provision of basic Equipment in the Primary Health Care facilities  and  availability of Pharmaceutical and nonpharmaceutical commodities in all health facilities.

“A strong referral system shall ensure reduced overcrowding and will lead to reduced waiting times and increased patient confidence which in turn will change treatment seeking behaviour.,” she said.

Recognizing the crucial role of multisectoral collaboration, the UHC program she added shall include strengthened engagement with line Ministries and Sectors and institute reforms in NHIF and KEMSA to improve service delivery.

“KEMSA is being repositioned to be a strategic provider for our health commodities and NHIF to be a strategic purchaser of health, that is, purchaser of the UHC essential Health,” she revealed.

The CS urged the editors to collaborate with the ministry to  synergize efforts to realize the achievement of Universal Health Coverage for Kenya.

She also not4ed that sKenya, has made notable progress in the number of people enrolled on anti-retroviral treatment (ART), reporting a tremendous increased from 98,000 in 2006 to 1,136,251 people in 2019. Premature deaths attributable to HIV/AIDS has reduced by 52% between 2007 and 2018 and malaria prevalence from 11% to 8% between 2010 and 2015. The incidence of malaria has also reduced  by third between 2015 and 2018.

“These reduction has been realized through investments in procurement and distribution of over 25 million mosquito nets to most at risk populations.  An increase in testing rate of suspected malaria cases in public health facilities, from 24 percent (2010) to 64 percent (2017), has also been reported,” she added.