Towards Universal Health Coverage: An assessment of the Healthcare system in Kenya between 2017 -2020
This paper explores the universal health coverage (UHC) in Kenya through the lens of its potential to progressively realize the constitutional promise of the right to the highest attainable standard of health. The health sector in Kenya has experienced tremendous changes since the government piloted the UHC program in four counties that led to the abolition of all fees, more than 200 community health units launched, 7700 community health volunteers with over 700 health workers recruited (MOH, 2020). Still, the government is in the process of scaling up UHC, reforming the national hospital insurance fund (NHIF) to establish a mandatory universal health coverage scheme. This paper sought to examine the framing of UHC; assess the healthcare system between 2017 -2020; investigate the challenges faced in the implementation of UHC in Kenya. The researcher utilized documents analysis to collect the relevant data using a coding schedule. A purposive search was undertaken to identify key policy documents and relevant documents. 18 documents were sampled. The findings reveal that Kenya’s healthcare facilities index stands at 59%, with a density of 2.2 per 10,000 population, the workforce density is at 15.6/10,000. Four counties including Tharaka Nithi (33.8), Nyeri (31.0), Uasin Gishu (28.2), and Nairobi (26.3) have achieved well above the WHO target. Several strategies and programs such as Afya Care, abolished maternity fees for mothers delivering at public facilities, and expansion of the National Health Insurance Fund, has been initiated to drive the UHC agenda. The Ministry of Health’s (MoH) budget also continues to rise, in 2018/19 the MoH received its largest allocation. Kenya, now more than ever, has an opportunity to accelerate progress towards equitable access to healthcare.