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Covid vaccines and mental health management allocated less funds

NATIONAL
By Mercy Kahenda | June 10th 2021
A Nurse vaccinates a person with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The National Treasury has allocated the Ministry of Health Sh121.1 billion under the 2021/22 Budget, a slight increase from Sh112 billion, in the last financial year.

Of the Sh121.1billion, Sh56 billion is for development spending while Sh65 billion is for recurrent expenditure.

Kenya's biggest economic and health challenge, the Covid-19 pandemic has been allocated Sh15.4 billion of which Sh3.9 billion will be for procuring vaccines and Sh9.5 billion for engagement of specialists, tests and supplying equipment to hospitals.

However, the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) has criticised Covid-19 allocation as “hardly adequate given the estimation that the cost of vaccinating 30 percent of the population is Sh34 billion” meaning there will be overreliance on donors.

Mechanical parts

PBO has also raised issues with underfunding mental health management with a paltry Sh200 million allocated to the Mathari Teaching and Referral Hospital to modernise wards and staff houses.   

The Budget proposed removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) on a number of medical equipment, medicine and supplements; malaria diagnostic test kits, orthopedic or fracture appliances and other artificial parts such as pacemakers, but not accessories.

Also proposed for exemptions are medical ventilators, breathing appliances and gas masks, excluding protective masks having neither mechanical parts nor replaceable filters.

Also not excluded are treatment and diagnostic or laboratory reagents, needles, urine bags and infant milk, according to the analysis by KPMG on the Finance Bill 2021.

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani has proposed to allocate Sh47.8 billion to national referral and specialised services, an increase from Sh43.8 billion in the 2020-2021 financial year.

Sh10.2 billion will be allocated to health research.

A further breakdown shows the Ministry of Health has been allocated Sh22.5 billion for development projects for preventive, promotive and reproductive health.

Other development spending include, national referral facilities have been allocated Sh11.7 billion, while Sh20 billion will be for health policy, standard regulation and Sh587 million will be for health research and development.

Universal Health Coverage under Big Four Agenda has Sh45.6 billion to fund a countrywide rollout after a 12-month pilot programme in Nyeri, Isiolo, Kisumu and Machakos. 

The Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret will get Sh120 million for construction and equipping of a children’s hospital with Sh15.6 million going to equipping its Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

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