Japan jabs Kenyan Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

GEORGE OKORE By GEORGE OKORE, 17th Aug 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/43j5kv4y/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Women's Health

The loan will focus on key areas which including free maternity services to improve access to health care for the mothers and children at all public health facilities. It will also augment health insurance subsidy program that aims to enroll more households into the national health insurance scheme.

Japan’s new global health initiative comes at a time when Kenya will host the fifth Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD VI) next year.


Japan has committed 4 billion Yen ($32.2 million) towards healthcare reforms in Kenya as the East African country seeks Universal Health Coverage.

Japan’s new global health initiative comes at a time when Kenya will host the fifth Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD VI) next year. The much needed facility was agreed upon in March 13 2015 in Tokyo between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting President Uhuru Kenyatta. Kenyan Finance Minister Henry Rotich says the credit will provide budgetary support to health sector by expanding and strengthening essential health services at county hospitals countrywide.

Mr Rotich says many Kenyans are were unable to enjoy satisfactory health care services due to financial reasons. “ The loan will focus on key areas which including free maternity services to improve access to health care for the mothers and children at all public health facilities. It will also augment health insurance subsidy program that aims to enroll more households into the national health insurance scheme.

The monies come at time when Japan, as well other emerging Asian economies, are increasingly stamping their presence in various global health initiatives. These include establishment of Global Fund, introducing health as G8 agenda and active involvement towards achieving MDGs.

Japan established National Health Insurance system by law in 1961, enabling everyone to access preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services at affordable cost for the past 50 plus years. As one of the “early achievers” in Universal Health Coverage, Japan is especially committed to the realization of UHC in other parts of the world, and Kenya became the first country that ever receive Japanese loan for the cause.

In Kenya, Annual Per Capita Out-of-pocket Spending on Outpatient by County varies from Kshs. 2,551 in Kajiado to Kshs. 473 in Siaya, with the national average of Kshs. 1,254. Data from Kenya Household Expenditure and Utilization Survey (2013) say poor households are more prone to catastrophic health expenditures (8.7%) than their richest counterparts (3.8%) While the devolution of health sector brought an enormous potential for UHC, people’s physical access to health services have to go hand-in-hand with the quality of services provided.

The loan is therefore expected to contribute to strengthening health system for UHC – Health service delivery, Health workforce, Health Information Systems, Access to essential medicines, Health Financing, and Leadership and Governance in Kenya. It is also hoped that the loan is useful to address one of the most immediate health concerns in Kenya - Improving maternal, new-born, child and adolescent health.
The loan disbursement will be made in two tranches with the achievement of key health policy/program actions agreed upon by two countries. This December, Japan will host a High-level meeting on UHC in Tokyo. Next May, Japan will host the first G7 summit after the announcement of Sustainable Development Goals.

Tags

Access To Essential Medicines, Governance, Health Financing, Health Information Systems, Health Service Delivery, Health Workforce, Kenya, Leadership

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author avatar GEORGE OKORE
George Okore is an international media consultant, resource person/facilitator, projects/programs manager, community leader, negotiator, advocate and author/writer/columnist based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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