Why healthcare should be a priority in 2020

By ORUCHO BONFACE TENGEYA | Friday, Jan 10th 2020 at 10:06
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The decade we are bidding goodbye has, on the other hand, seen great revolution and awareness on health insurance. NHIF has supported so many so is the Universal Health Coverage that is in the early stages of adoption.

Cancer awareness should be placed on top of the agenda of the Ministry of Health’s list of activities in the new decade. May we move into a new decade with renewed energies, especially in the fight against the killer chronic diseases like hypertension, Diabetes, and Cancer.

The main challenges we face are either related to human resources, finances, or issues to do with medical supplies. If we can ensure the health providers are well managed and such issues as strikes and work-slows are eliminated, then that will be the first step to achieving this essential resource. Financing this sector should not be an issue of debate.

Kenya is a signatory of the Abuja Declaration that requires members to allocate at least 15% of its national budget to healthcare. Going by the 2018/2019 financial allocations, the government has only managed to allocate 6%. If we can implement such policies, then health for the common ‘Mwananchi’ will be realized.

It is, however, worthy to note that we can do better than we are doing today if the policymakers and policy implementers work harmoniously. With the implementation of the 2010 constitution that gave birth to devolution, many Kenyans have benefitted immensely in this sector. Counties like Makueni, Kakamega, and Kisii have been credited for their outstanding performance, especially in healthcare delivery, according to the Commission on Revenue Allocation’s 2013 report. It, therefore, implies that if all devolved units and the national government can put in place better policies and implement them, we can provide affordable healthcare for all.

From as early as 1963/4, fighting disease and providing primary healthcare was among the list of agendas that the country vowed to address. As a scholar, I have studied the many efforts that various governments have put in place in a bid to ensure that Kenya is a healthy nation. We have greatly achieved these efforts, especially if we compare the state of Kenya’s health sector to the state in neighboring countries.

As we prepare to move into a new year and a new decade, there is a need for the government through the ministry of health and the devolved units to show more dedication to improving and availing primary healthcare to Kenyans.

Recently Kenyans followed proceedings of a forum organized by KTN News at Strathmore University dubbed ‘State of the Health.’ The discussions and deliberations from the forum left us with quite a number of questions that we will seek to answer next year and in the next decade.

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