Piloting of Universal Health Care (UHC) in four counties has faced numerous challenges including lack of a system to identify patients.
Officials who spoke in Kisumu during the third UHC conference to review the pilot in Kisumu, Machakos, Nyeri and Isiolo said failure to link UHC beneficiaries to an identification system had complicated their efforts.
Dr Wekesa Masasabi, a director at the Ministry of Health in Nairobi, said an identification system is necessary to facilitate referrals.
He said most health facilities lack capacity to register clients and may not achieve the goals of the pilot within the set timelines.
"Staff implementing the Universal Health Care programmes have learnt vital lessons which will be used to fill up the many gaps already identified," Dr Masasabi said in a speech read on his behalf by Dr Warma Osman, also from ministry headquarters in Nairobi.
The conference which brought together representatives from national and county governments and other stakeholders also heard those implementing UHC are considering using Huduma Namba registry to help identify Kenyans for UHC services.Clients information
“We must to invest in information systems in hospitals to facilitate connectivity, whether one is using their mobile phones or computer, to access clients’ information,” said Masasabi.
He cited strain on level four and level five hospitals saying: “Going forward, there is a need to strengthen the referral systems so clients can utilise the lower level health facilities.”
Kenya County health executives chairman Andrew Mulwa, of Makueni County government, said there is need to equip staff with the necessary skills. "We also need to ensure staff rationalisation to enhance their efficiency in the face increased workload."
Dr Mulwa added: “Strong leadership and good governance are critical for the success of UHC."
Nominated Senator Rose Nyamunga said UHC has not reached the poor who are the majority.
“National and county governments should tame graft for the success of UHC ,” said Nyamunga.
Ms Catherine Muoki, from the State department of Planning, said for effective delivery of UHC, authorities must enter strategic partnerships.