The theme for this year is “Afya Bora Nyumbani.”
The Universal Health Care (UHC) Conference, taking place in Kericho County, was officially opened by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, with a focus on going local. The Deputy President launched the Smart Primary Care Network (PCN) for Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Through this, there will be continuity of service from the community level for access to basic healthcare services up to level 4 facilities where specialized care is offered. In his remarks, the Deputy President reiterated the government’s commitment to the realization of UHC as promised in their campaign manifesto. The national government committed 18.4 billion towards primary healthcare.
Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha noted that the Ministry of Health has identified Commodity security, Human Resource for Health, Social Health Insurance, and Digitization as the four critical pillars to drive UHC.
The national government is partnering with counties to ensure that health workers are adequate and well-motivated. She appreciated the need to leverage the CHP workforce to achieve primary healthcare. Leveraging local manufacturers, the government committed to increasing the commodities refill rate to 80% within the next 6 months to ensure the availability of medicine.
Prof. Miriam Were, former Chair of the LG Technical Advisory Board, and Prof. Dan Kaseje were recognized and feted for their contributions to Community Health.
Highlights from some of the key speakers:
– A USAID representative noted that the launch of UHC will support the drive towards reducing the disease burden, neglected tropical diseases, and increasing access to health for all citizens.
– Safaricom committed to supporting the government in realizing the dream of digitizing CH. They are willing to support data transmission and have provided devices that were dispatched to counties. They will remain a technology partner for the government to support the infrastructure fit for scale. They have already provided devices and are supporting the assembly of CHPs’ phones, reducing the cost of phone production.
– A WHO representative congratulated the Kenyan government for its remarkable commitment to realizing UHC and recommended the integration of primary healthcare into all levels of the health system.
Panel sessions moderated by Ruth Ngechu, Pathfinder – LG Advisory Board, featured learning and experience sharing by Dr. Hajara Busaid, County Director for Health in Kwale County, and Ms. Habon Golo Abdi, Primary Health Care coordinator in Garissa County on setting up PCNs. The overarching message emphasized the importance of partnership and multistakeholder engagement when setting up PCNs and the need for a baseline assessment to understand the dynamics of the region.
This was followed by rich discussions and arguments posed by different panelists, including:
– Anthony Gitau, Johnson, and Johnson, who elaborated on the CHU4UHC platform partners and the vision of implementing CHs in a coordinated manner, utilizing resources efficiently. He thanked the platform for the achievements so far.
– Dr. Gregory Ganda, CECM, Kisumu County, was among the leading counties to deliver PCN. He noted that one of the strategies employed was a partnership with the executive and legislature. For sustainability, he noted that a partnership coordination framework, where the county takes the lead as partners support, was instrumental to their success.
– Mr. Yoran Wolman, Chief of Health at UNICEF, emphasized the need for strong partnership and accountability by all parties.
– Meshack Ndirangu, Country Director of Amref Health in Africa, Kenya, noted that for UHC to work, there is a need to focus on 1) a one-health strategy, 2) an action plan on how to implement it, and 3) a monitoring framework visible to all. He also called for a unified focus on performance improvement.