Why Kenya is inching closer to universal health coverage Oct 11, 2016

Why Kenya is inching closer to universal health coverage

Benson Momanyi

Health is inseparable from human development. The development of a nation depends on the health and well-being of its people. Many international declarations and commitments attest to this as is well amplified in the United Nations millennium development goals which Kenya has undertaken to achieve.

The great health challenges of today — among them infant, child, and maternal mortality, malaria, HIV and non-communicable diseases — all impact on the capacity of people to survive and thrive. Advancing better health is a gateway to development. And development is a gateway to improving health. Since independence, Kenya has steadily worked to improve the health of its 40 million plus people, more than half of whom live in rural areas.

However, the economic crisis of the 1980s coupled with the HIV/Aids pandemic in the 90s aggravated the limitations Kenya faced in providing quality care across the population. These limitations included providing healthcare services to geographically dispersed populations, ensuring access to healthcare providers in critical regions and securing appropriate financing to sustain and increase the healthcare infrastructure at the national and county levels.

Along with tackling persistently high levels of infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, HIV/Aids, and malaria, Kenya has seen an increased prevalence of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In 1994, the government produced the Kenya Health Policy Framework paper, which set forth a vision of providing “Quality healthcare that is acceptable, affordable and accessible to all” by 2010. Our healthcare system has evolved with the changing needs of the population. The health policy, the Constitution and Vision 2030 serve as our roadmap towards increased access, quality and affordable healthcare for all Kenyans. Read more.