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Gov’t to fully implement publicly financed primary healthcare system

President William Ruto during the unveiling of kits to Community Health Promoters in Nairobi

The Government has Friday said that its mission is to build a progressive, responsive and sustainable healthcare system for accelerated attainment of the highest standard of health for all Kenyans.

Speaking at the Mashujaa Day fete in Kericho County, President William Ruto said that some of the ways in which his administration intends to address this issues include the provision of fully publicly financed primary healthcare, the installation of a digital health management information system and the setting up of a fund for improving health facilities.

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On the delivery of primary healthcare services at the community level, Ruto said that the change will start with Community Health Promoters (CHP).

The work of the promoters will include basic preventive and promotive health, health education, basic first aid for the treatment of minor injuries and ailments at the household level and referral for facility-based healthcare.

Each community health promoter is allocated 100 homes within their neighbourhoods countrywide.

In addition, Ruto says that the National Government is working closely with the county governments to strengthen the delivery of community health services through payment of stipends for 100,000 Community Health Promoters, on a matching basis of 50:50.

“The national government has allocated Ksh 3 billion annually for payment of the stipends. It is worth noting that, as of today, over one million households in 10 counties have been visited by community health promoters, offered services and their data captured in the AFYA NYUMBANI dashboard,” said Ruto.

On digitizing the healthcare system, the Head of State noted that quality community health data is essential for the planning, resource allocation and monitoring of progress towards Universal Health Coverage.

In this regard, he said noted that the use of the electronic community health information systems (e-CHIS) is live and being used by promoters across the country.

He said that the application is a simple and user-friendly mobile health solution that will be used to collect real-time accurate household data, initiate planning for health service delivery and provide linkage to health facilities.

“Along with the CHP kits, the Government has provided 110,000 smartphones for use by the promoters and Community Health Assistants,” he noted.

On the fully, publicly financed primary health care system, Ruto said that his government has set up an emergency care fund and a health insurance fund that will cover all Kenyans.

This promise, he said, is delivered through the enactment of the new Social Health Insurance Act which, among other things, establishes the publicly financed Primary Health Fund, a fully publicly financed chronic, emergency and critical illness fund and the Social Health Insurance Fund.

“Access to healthcare will no longer be based on the ability to pay; it will be based on the health needs of every Kenyan,” he said.

Ruto further noted that his government is implementing a per-household payment system, where a flat rate applies to everyone, regardless of their income.

“Consider this for example, previously, an individual earning Ksh 10,000 had to part with Ksh 500 to NHIF, a hefty 5% of their earnings. On the other hand, those with salaries of Ksh 100,000 or more contributed Ksh 1,700, a mere 1.7% of their income. Astonishingly, even someone with a monthly income of Ksh 1 million, say, the President, paid the same amount – Ksh 1700, which translates to a paltry 0.17% of their substantial earnings. This bizarre setup meant that low-income earners were effectively subsidizing high-income earners.”

In conclusion, the Head of State noted that apart from the four laws, the Ministry of Health has put in place various policies and strategies to actualize strengthening of local manufacturing of health products and technologies, to have at least 50 per cent of medicines on the Kenya Essential Medical List produced locally, ensuring procurement mechanisms guarantee value for money and provide the advantage of economies of scale.

The Ministry of Health, Safaricom, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the UN Programme on HIV/Aids and United Nations Population Fund, the Danish International Development Agency, the United States Government, the World Bank, Children Investment Fund Foundation, Academic Model Providing Access to Health Care, Medic Mobile, US President’s Emergency for AIDS Relief, and AMREF Kenya, among others were lauded for their support towards the healthcare sector.

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