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Government should change tack and provide quality healthcare to all citizens free of charge

By Mundia Mundia | July 12th 2021

A patient is injected with the Covid-19 vaccine.[Getty Images]

The 2010 Constitution established inalienable rights to health for all Kenyans.

The legacy of fragmentation is evident in our healthcare system that is divided into two parallel sectors - the private and public sectors.

Our health service delivery structure is ‘doctor dependent and biased towards curative, rather than preventive services such as providing clean water, sanitation and public education.

Worse still, the universal health coverage spearheaded by government and provision of medical cover through NHIF appear myopic, lacking in vision and inefficient in service delivery.

Currently, NHIF limitations have reached a frightening level and have been made worse by mismanagement.

Our healthcare management is limited by poor funding, incoherence between health policy initiatives, reforms and programmes of different political regimes, weak institutional and human capacity building.

Kenya adopted a socialised medical system from the colonialists that does not suit our African culture and Kenyan socialisation.

The Beveridge model currently being used in the UK, Canada, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Spain is the same system that we are using.

The above mentioned countries have a GDP per capita of between $20,110.3 and $43,241.6 while Kenya, classified as being ‘very poor’, has a GDP per capita of $1,838.2. Countries such as Cuba, China, Russia, Poland and Hungary that have a GDP per capita of between $9,099.7 and $15,899.1, adopted socialist medicare system.

Kenya needs to adopt the socialist medical and insurance system that reflects the country’s cultural and political administration as well as it’s financial and economic capabilities.

What Kenya needs is a socialist medicare system where healthcare is a state-provided public service. This model allows the state to control, organise, finance and allocate healthcare directly to all citizens, free of charge.

No third-party organisation or insurance companies come between healthcare providers and patients. Many are suffering due to the expensive and discriminative nature of our healthcare system.

NHIF should provide Kenyans with a healthcare cover regardless of one’s employment status and ability to make a direct monetary contribution to the fund. 

NHIF should be a non-profit, publicly funded organisation that helps deliver affordable and quality services.

An inefficient healthcare system like ours has made the country lose millions of shillings annually to India and other Western nations.

A ‘Patient Service Charter’ should be set up to recognise the rights of ordinary citizens and entitlement to good service delivery.

This will help tame corruption, discrimination and reduce additional payments.

Mundia Mundia, Eldoret

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