Kenya health­care score above re­gional av­er­age

EA coun­tries also urged to tar­get hard-to-reach pop­u­la­tions

The East African - - OUTLOOK - By RUTH MBULA Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

Un­der the SDG, coun­tries com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing healthy lives, pro­mot­ing well­be­ing and var­i­ous health tar­gets by 2030.”

Fall­ing numbers in malaria in­fec­tions, im­proved mor­tal­ity rate for chil­dren un­der five and im­proved de­cline in deaths of women giv­ing birth have done Kenya good.

Th­ese fac­tors have placed the coun­try top on the list of 47 World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion mem­ber coun­tries in Africa where a good range of avail­able es­sen­tial health services are of­fered.

A WHO State of Health in Africa re­port, which pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive over­view of the re­gion, says Kenya is among coun­tries in Africa where good prac­tices can be ex­plored across dif­fer­ent ar­eas of health.

Uganda, Tan­za­nia, Rwanda and even South Su­dan, which has faced pro­tracted civil war, were men­tioned as hav­ing im­proved on ser­vice de­liv­ery, putting the re­gion on track to­wards at­tain­ing the UN’S Sus­tain­able Development Goals on health­care.

The re­port, launched last week by Dr Mat­shidiso Moeti, WHO’S re­gional di­rec­tor for Africa in Dakar at a side event of the 68th ses­sion of the WHO Re­gional Com­mit­tee for Africa, Kenya’s over­all util­i­sa­tion of health and health-re­lated services to reach the SDGS is at 64 per cent of what is fea­si­ble in the re­gion, still much higher than the re­gional av­er­age of 48 per cent.

The re­port also checks on re­lated services, the per­for­mance of health sys­tems and what im­pacts th­ese have on health in the re­gion.

There is, how­ever, a need to ac­cel­er­ate on­go­ing in­ter­ven­tions to ad­dress ser­vice avail­abil­ity, fi­nan­cial risk pro­tec­tion, health se­cu­rity and ser­vice re­spon­sive­ness fo­cus­ing on the hard to reach pop­u­la­tions

Fur­ther, Kenya needs to im­prove ac­cess to services, qual­ity of care, and specif­i­cally tar­get hard-to-reach pop­u­la­tions.

There is also a need to in­crease in­vest­ment in the health work­force and medicines.

Rwanda was not badly off as it also sur­passed the re­gional’s tar­get to achieve 56 per cent of the SDGS. The coun­try has sig­nif­i­cantly ad­vanced uni­ver­sal health cov­er­age with its com­mu­nity-based health in­sur­ance pro­gramme.

Care for cit­i­zens is sub­sidised, al­low­ing Rwan­dans to pay for services based on a tiered pre­mium sys­tem pegged on one’s so­cio-eco­nomic stand­ing.

This cov­er­age is fur­ther en­abled by the Rwan­dan gov­er­nance struc­tures with -gov­ern­ment agen­cies be­ing made re­spon­si­ble for pol­icy for­mu­la­tion and reg­u­la­tion while the dis­tricts han­dle local plan­ning and de­liv­ery.

Fund­ing for health care is de­cen­tralised to district level to en­sure the widest reach pos­si­ble.

Health cen­tres are given fi­nan­cial au­ton­omy to plan ac­tiv­i­ties ac­cord­ing to their needs and the needs of the com­mu­nity.

But WHO rec­om­mends that the coun­try in­tro­duces in­no­va­tive ap­proaches to im­prove health se­cu­rity for all, and tar­get hard-to-reach sec­tions of the pop­u­la­tion.

Uganda scored slightly be­low the re­gion’s av­er­age at 46 per cent. The rec­om­men­da­tions were the same as those for Kenya and Rwanda.

South Su­dan per­formed well be­low the re­gion’s av­er­age and man­aged 38 per cent. Although there are many or­gan­i­sa­tions help­ing to re­build the coun­try, many hu­man­i­tar­ian needs re­main un­met. Com­mu­ni­ties lack ac­cess to ba­sic health­care services.

The sit­u­a­tion is par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult in the north, close to the bor­der with Su­dan. Re­cent fight­ing in the area has di­rectly im­pacted avail­abil­ity and price of food, con­tribut­ing to an in­crease in child deaths from mal­nu­tri­tion.

Pic­ture: File

Many hos­pi­tals in Kenya now have a re­nal unit such as this one at Moi Teaching and Re­fer­ral Hos­pi­tal in El­doret.

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