Universal health coverage means that all people can use the health services they need while being protected against the financial hardship often associated with paying for them. – WHO
The Kenyan Government plans to roll-out the pre-payment of healthcare as a means of reducing out-of-pocket expenditure, to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Dr. Rashid A. Aman, Chief Administrative Secretary Ministry of Health said investing in UHC is ‘likely to reap 10 times of the benefits’.
“In this regard, financial sector experts, banks and investors play a key role in the provision of innovative financing solutions that are geared towards pre-payment for health. The government will facilitate an enabling environment through interventions that will manage the cost of healthcare including the price regulation of essential medicines and commodities which will reduce the high claim cost experienced by both NHIF and private medical insurers,” said Dr. Aman.
Speaking at the Commercial Bank of Africa 6th Economic Forum he said spending on healthcare in Kenya in 2018 was Kshs 360 billion, of which Ksh 118 billion was done out-of-pocket. “This is a concern that needs to be addressed as it impoverishes people,” he said.
The forum focused on the devolved health and Kenya’s Big 4 ambition towards Universal Health Coverage: Interrogating opportunities for Public-Private Sector Partnerships.
Jeremy Ngunze, chief executive CBA Banks said, “Investment in health is not only desirable but also an essential priority for our societies. Health is the greatest social capital a nation can have. Without healthy, productive citizenship, a country can’t be economically stable.”
Ngunze reiterated that addressing the gaps that will help the country achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goal is crucial to building a strong economic foundation, adding that this is something that the sector players and other key players should continue to work toward.
In Kenya, the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) pilot programme has been rolled out in four counties: Isiolo, Kisumu, Nyeri and Machakos.
According to the government, funding to the sector has increased. In the financial year 2018/19 the national government increased its allocation to health by 56% from Ksh62.0 Billion (5.8% of spending) to Ksh97.08 Billion (6.8% of total spending) and held it at Ksh93.0 Billion in 2019/20 budget. NHIF recruitment has also increased substantially, especially in the counties.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Universal health coverage ensures that all people use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.
CBA Economic Forum was launched in January 2018 and is held thrice a year with a specific topic each time.