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Kenya receives Sh3.28 billion loan for health coverage

By Standard Reporter | August 17th 2015

           National Treasury CS Henry Rotich (right)  at the signing ceremony

NAIROBI, KENYA; Kenya has signed Sh3.28 billion with Japan as sector policy loan for universal health coverage.

The loan was officially pledged on March 13 in Tokyo, by Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan during the official visit to Japan by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mr. Henry Rotich, Cabinet Secretary, National Treasury and Mr. Hideo Eguchi, Chief Representative of JICA witnessed the signing ceremony this morning.   

Japan has been playing a pivotal role in various global health commitments, i.e. establishment of the Global Fund; introducing health as G8 agenda; and active involvement towards achieving the MDGs. Japan established the National Health Insurance system by law in 1961, enabling everyone to access preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services at affordable cost for the past 50 plus years. As one of the “early achievers” in Universal Health Coverage, Japan is especially committed to the realization of UHC in other parts of the world, and Kenya became the first country to ever receive Japanese loan for the cause.   

Mr. Rotich observed that the Sh3.28 billion credit will provide general budget support specifically to the health sector with a view to promoting the attainment of Universal Health Coverage in the country. “This will be achieved through expanding the strengthening essential health services at County hospitals in the country,” he noted.  

Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia noted that this support is very timely, coming at the end of MDGs in 2015. It will mainly go towards three key areas: first is support for free maternity service, secondly for health insurance subsidy program, an important social protection program and thirdly towards results-based financing. He said this will have a major impact on improving the health of Kenyans. 

“The Government of Japan has globally promoted UHC as one of its important development policies,” observed Ambassador Terada, noting that Japan achieved UHC in 1961. He added that Japan would continue supporting Kenya to attain UHC so that Kenya would become a successful model for other African countries. 

The loan is expected to contribute to strengthening health system for UHC – Health service delivery, Health workforce, Health Information Systems, Access to essential medicines, Health Financing, and Health Leadership and Governance in Kenya. It is also hoped that the loan is useful to address one of the most immediate health concerns in Kenya - Improving maternal, new-born, child and adolescent health.

The loan disbursement will be made in two tranches based on the achievement of key health policy/program actions agreed upon by two countries.  


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