The Private Health Sector to support Health Benefit Advisory Panel
As a way to expand access to higher quality health services and achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) the government of Kenya is looking at public private partnership (PPP) so as to leverage capital, managerial capacity and know how from the private sector. The government of Kenya is also increasingly promoting PPPs as a means to unlock financing and expertise in vision 2030. Important strides have been made in order to build the necessary regulatory frameworks and support systems that can facilitate PPPs to add value to the health sector.
Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF) through Public Private Partnership (PPP) committee identifies the gaps within the public health sector and advocates on how to fill the gaps. During the presidential round table and ministerial stakeholder forum. The PPP committee held its quarterly meeting at Kenya Healthcare Federation offices on 23rd August 2018.This was the first meeting held under the directorship Dr. Jacqueline Kitulu and Ms. Joyce Wanderi. The meeting was chaired by the committee director, Dr. Kitulu.
The committee has held several engagements with the ministry of health through Ministerial Stake holder Forum. During the eighth ministerial stakeholder forum, the health cabinet secretary, Mrs. Sicily Kariuki, who chaired the meeting , emphasized on Universal Health Coverage as big task that the ministry is looking at and requires a lot of time and resources, of which cannot get from the government alone. “With lots of requirement in terms of time and resources therefore, this is where the dialogue around Public – Private Partnership (PPP) is important and we should consider the future of PPPs in this sector. It is important that there is one side from the private sector.” Mrs. Sicily Kariuki Health CS.
The ministry of health established a Benefits Advisory Panel that was tasked with coming up with costs and packages. The private sector was invited for a stakeholder engagement role. Dr. Amit Thakker – Chairman Kenya Healthcare Federation concurred with the CS where he emphasized that Inclusiveness is important as Ministerial Stakeholder Forum is made the epitome of Non-State Actors.
The benefit Advisory Panel invited Kenya Healthcare Federation that represents the private health sector for a stakeholder breakfast meeting at Sarova Panafric hotel on 3rd August 2018 to discuss more on the benefit package. It was noted that National Health Insurance Fund(NHIF) may be overburdened and cannot be relied on as the key financier for Universal Health Coverage however, the poor may not be covered. There was a consensus that the benefits advisory panel should share the package with the private sector, inorder to identify the gaps hence have discussions on how to fill the gaps.
KHF has held five county stakeholder engagements i.e. Kirinyaga, Makueni, Isiolo, Uasingishu and Kisumu to assess the financing models that have been established, identify the gaps hence advice on how to fill the gaps. There was a consensus on reviewing the PPP ACT and the committee should also ensure the PPP retreat should be planned this is because the health CS Mrs. Sicily Kariuki assured of her readiness to attend the retreat. There were elections carried out for the new committee chair and vice chair where Mr. Antony Okoth was re-elected to be the Committee chair and Dr.Christine Sadia as the vice chair.
Second Universal Health Coverage Conference in Nyeri
Kenya Vision 2030 delivery secretariat in partnership with Ministry of Health (MoH), Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF), Amref Health Africa, Kenya Cardiac Society, Council of Governors, NCD Alliance Kenya, Kenyatta University and Nyeri county health department organized the second Universal Health Coverage Conference held at Green Hills Hotel, Nyeri County from 11th – 12th September 2018. The conference sought to address the non – communicable disease (NCD) challenge to the country and was appropriately themed “Universal Health Coverage for Sustainable Development – Transformative Solutions to Halt and Reverse the Non-Communicable Disease Epidemic”
The conference was graced by several dignitaries: Her Excellency Dr. Carol Karugu, Deputy Governor, Nyeri County; His Excellency Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Governor, Kisumu County; His Excellency Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, Governor, Makueni County; Dr. Julius Muia EBS, Principal Secretary, State Department for Planning; Dr. Racheal Kamau, CEC Health, Nyeri County.
Rev. Samuel Njenga of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa opened the conference with prayer and thereafter giving a brief address. He said that the church has a vital role to play in advocating for and sensitizing the people about good health.
Dr. Kamau welcomed participants and thanked the organizers for choosing Nyeri County to host the conference, adding that she looked forward to fruitful deliberations. “Nyeri County is facing a high burden of NCDs. We need to change our ways of practice and take up the challenge” she remarked. Thereafter Dr. Kibachio Mwangi, the Head of NCD unit at MoH highlighted the key objectives of the conference which were: Understand the NCDs challenge; outline the role of private sector in addressing NCDs; outline the role of consumer organizations in protecting the public from sale of harmful products; and outline the role of government, civil society and the youth in addressing NCDs. Dr. Mwangi emphamphised that NCDs are not purely a health agenda, but require a multi-sectoral approach incorporating sectors such as transport, education and agriculture particularly in prevention measures.
“We should put health first; unfortunately what are addressing is a result of our choices such as what we eat. Good health plays an important role in boosting the economy, reducing poverty, increasing education and boosting investment” Dr. Julius Muia said in his address to the conference.Preventive measures against NCDs took center stage in the deliberations. It was appreciated that more focus needs to move to prevention as we continue in disease management interventions.
The consensus on the way forward included creating awareness, education of the public and preventive measures against NCDs, adoption of a multi-sectoral approach, utilizing Public- Private Partnerships and supporting local pharmaceutical manufacturers to make medicines affordable and strengthening the supply chain. “Managing NCDs is very expensive. If we truly want to make UHC achievable, we need to address the issue of cost. If we reduce costs we’ll be able to expand the care. The biggest PPP opportunity in cost reduction is in supply chain”, said Dr. Peter Kamunyo, Director, Kenya Healthcare Federation.
Further, there was consensus that community health volunteers (CHVs) should be officially entrenched in the health system. It was recognized that CHVs play a very critical role in NCD public sensitization. It was agreed that NHIF be strengthened, that it should cover preventive health checks and that it should ensure that the poor and vulnerable are covered. The country should strategize on addressing the poor availability, lack of affordability and inadequate resources as barriers to UHC. Young people should be informed and sensitized on NCDs so they can act as role models to their peers in NCDs prevention. NCD education should be incorporated in the school curriculum.
A patient representative at the conference made an appeal to the health sector to address survivorship of NCDs, a phase of management that insurance doesn’t cover. She highlighted that cancer patients are usually deserted by friends and family after diagnosis due to the burden of their disease on their loved ones. “We are left alone. It’s time for medics to inform us how we can survive after diagnosis of an NCD like cancer. This way trauma can reduce and a patient can accept the situation, love on themselves and even achieve their goals. The price of medications is usually very high and almost unaffordable. Patients get financially drained while trying to get medication”, said Elizabeth, a cancer survivor of nine years.
Professor Nyong’o called on stakeholders to identify areas of inequity in health care, and strategize on how to fill the gaps. “Counties don’t have a strong primary healthcare system, the aim of UHC is to strengthen primary healthcare” said Dr. Karugu, while Prof. Kibwana called upon all pilot counties to learn from each other as a way achieving UHC uniformly, further adding that CHVs will play a big role in rolling out UHC, particularly in educating communities.
The conference was well attended attracting 400 delegates drawn from both public and private health sectors. There was representation from national government, county governments, World Bank, the United Nations office in Kenya, Non-governmental organizations and youth organizations. KHF was represented by the chairman, Dr. Amit Thakker, directors Dr. Peter Kamunyo and Dr. Daniella Munene, Dr. Joy Mugambi, deputy Secretary General, Kenya Medical Association (all panelists), as well as several KHF members who attended as delegates. A number of KHF member organizations sponsored the event.
China- Kenya Pharmaceutical Trade and Investment Forum
The China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines & Health Products (CCCMHPIE), held a trade and investment forum together with the Ministry of Health Kenya and the private health sector in Kenya on the 30th of August 2018 at the Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi.
The main aim of the forum was to establish and maintain a good relationship between Kenyan and Chinese healthcare sectors and further explore investment opportunities in the Kenyan pharmaceutical industry. This forum was sponsored by UKAID and brought together participants from Ministry of Health Kenya, Pharmacy and Poisons Board Kenya, the Kenya Healthcare Federation, the Kenya Chamber of Commerce, the Economic & Commercial Counsellor’s Office at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, and the China Africa Friendship Association.
Ms. Guo Xiaodan deputy secretary of sub-chamber, department of pharmaceutical, CCCMHPIE, opened the forum by welcoming the guests. In her opening speech, she reiterated that she’s extremely happy to visit Kenya and establish a lasting relationship between Kenyan and Chinese healthcare sectors.
CCCMHPIE was established in May in 1989. It is the most internationalized and influential healthcare industry association in China the key areas of responsibility include: policy and industry coordination, conferences and training, exhibitions registration, consulting, market surveys and analysis reports in traditional Chinese medicines, pharmaceuticals, medical devices & dressings, biopharmaceuticals and functional cosmetics.
In his speech, Mr. Tan Shengcai, head of the Chinese healthcare delegation gave a background of Kenya – China relationship especially in investment. He emphasized that Kenya has been contracting China in building and construction particularly in road construction. There is need to have deeper engagement especially in the healthcare industry. He invited the Chinese healthcare delegates to evaluate the Kenyan market and see possible investment opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry.
Dr. Amit Thakker, Chairman, Kenya Healthcare Federation welcomed the China healthcare delegation to Kenya. In his speech, he informed the attendees that the investment forum is very timely since it touches on two pillars of the BIG 4 Agenda i.e. Manufacturing and Affordable Healthcare for all. He however emphasized that there is need to bridge the gaps in healthcare drivers, such as Human Resource for Health, Healthcare financing healthcare and ICT and Mobile Health.
The Pharmacy and Poisons Board was clear on their regulatory role in the practice of Pharmacy and the Manufacture and Trade in drugs and poisons. The Board aims to implement the appropriate regulatory measures to achieve the highest standards of safety, efficacy and quality for all drugs, chemical substances and medical devices locally manufactured, imported, exported, distributed, sold, or used, to ensure the protection of the consumer as envisaged by the laws regulating drugs in Kenya.
There was a B2B session thereafter conducted by CCCMHPIE where the China delegation had an impactful engagement with the Kenyan health sector, both private and public. The China delegation touched on business opportunities and engagements that can be established between Kenya and China. The Chinese team visited Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) thereafter.
Kenya Healthcare Federation Fourth Bimonthly Members Meeting
Kenya Healthcare Federation(KHF) held it’s fourth bi-monthly members meeting on 29th August 2018, at Pride Inn Hotel in Westlands. This was the first meeting after the new Board of Directors and committee chairs and vice chairs were elected to serve for a term of three years. The meeting was sponsored by Lufthansa Group Airlines.
The federation chairman Dr. Amit Thakker started off the meeting by welcoming the members and invited guests, particularly extending a warm welcome to new members. Mr. Tobias Ernst, Regional sales Director, Lufthansa Group Airlines, thanked the federation chair, Board of Directors and the entire KHF membership for the good relationship that was established between KHF and Lufthansa Group Airlines. He said he was looking forward to working together in enhancing quality and better healthcare to Kenyans. Mr. Tobias further emphasized that health & medical products are a niche business for Lufthansa Group Airlines, which offers high impact, customer focused professional medical services.
“Lufthansa sees the importance and need to offer a state-of-the-art medical portfolio to our customers. As the world’s population is getting older, people seek healthcare abroad and might need to get back to their home country when injured during vacation or seek intensive care abroad.” Mr. Ernst said. He then extended an invitation to medical doctors within KHF to register as “doctors on board” with Lufthansa Airline.
The meeting was also graced by Book Aid International whose mission is to enhance access to quality health information through donations of books hence making education more affordable and accessible.
Northern Nomadic Disabled Persons Organization (NONDO), Isiolo County were also present and made a presentation. They announced that they would host a conference from 27th – 29th September 2018 during which there would be a desert wheel race to fund-raise for 100 children from nomadic, arid and semiarid counties who need corrective surgery.
There were updates from KHF committees on the progress they’ve made in terms of advocacy. The healthcare financing committee has held five county stakeholder engagement forums on healthcare financing. The counties engaged were Kisumu, Kirinyanga, Uasingishu, Makueni and Isiolo. The county health teams reported that the forums were beneficial in guiding them to carefully consider affordable financing models that will be tailor made for the needs of their counties and that will enable all their residents access quality healthcare without financial strain.
The public – private partnership (PPP) committee has been playing a key role in the Presidential Round Table (PRT), the Ministerial Stakeholders Forum (MSF) and the Ministry of Health (MoH). Some of the issues the committee has been handling are identifying gaps in the public health sector, proposing solutions and pushing for implementation. There is an ambitious task ahead to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) whose requirements in terms of time and resources cannot come from the government alone. Therefore, the dialogue around Public Private Partnership (PPP) is important. It was reported that the private health sector through KHF had been invited to participate in the stakeholder engagement with the Health Benefits Advisory Panel established by MoH.
There is a problem in recruitment and retention of human resources for health (HRH) and this needs to be addressed by the public health sector in consultation with private health sector. The public health sector needs to source and retain human capital, develop specialized cadres and address neglected cadres.The HRH committee has been advocating for innovative models as part of the solution and advising the sector accordingly through various forums available such as conferences, MSF, Council of Governors (COG) and county engagements.
The health regulations & quality standards and supply chain committees have been advocating for quality and safe healthcare, stressing that the focus on affordable healthcare should not distract the country from ensuring quality health services. Quality accreditation of health institutions is one way to ensure safe care of patients. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a growing concern in our country. People living with NCDs are particularly subjected to financial strain as their treatment is often life long. Seeing as NCD patient care is mostly through medication, the supply chain committee recognizes that the cost of medicines in Kenya needs to be addressed. The committee advocates for support of local manufacturers of pharmaceutical products, which will lower the cost of medication.
Committees have carried out elections of officials for a new term. Dr. Torooti Mwirigi and Ms. Serah Mohamed have been elected as chair and vice chair respectively in the ICT & Mobile Health committee. Mr. Kennedy Auma remains chair of HRH Committee, with Dr. Joyce Sitonik as vice chair. Mr. Antony Okoth is the chair of PPP Committee with Dr. Christine Sadia as the vice chair. Ms. Millicent Olulo is the chair of the Health Regulations & Quality Standards committee with Mr. Antony Jaccodul as vice chair. Dr. William Mwatu remains chair of the Supply Chain committee with Mr. Chris Masila elected as vice chair.
Strengthening Health Workforce in Kenya
The KHF Human Resource for Health (HRH) Committee held a breakfast meeting at KHF offices on 16th of August 2018 to discuss on the committee progress in advocating for adequate human resources in the health sector, recruitment and retention of human capital and how to get the neglected cadres recognized.
The meeting was chaired by the committee’s vice Chair, Dr. Joyce Sitonik. The committee has had several engagements with the Ministry of Health (MoH) to discuss on how to get the neglected cadres recognized. In last year’s meetings with MoH, the primary agenda for the committee was to identify the neglected specialized cadres and those that need more attention in terms of regulation and standardization in order to bring them to a good quality assurance level. Thereafter, a partnership formed between Amref Health Africa, Kenya Healthcare Federation and Malteser International to strategize on how these cadres can be strengthened.
The Identified cadres were, health records and information officers, emergency care professionals and community health workers. The discussions have been very fruitful, with outputs such as the current effort by emergency medical technicians to form a professional association.
KHF identifies gaps within the public health sector and advocates for improvement or restructuring,including through Public Private Partnerships (PPP). For example, there is a problem in recruitment and retention HRH in the public sector. The committee will be holding a workshop that will address neglected specialized cadres, recruitment and retention strategies, Innovations (Corvus Health) and setting up objectives and terms of reference for the committee. It was agreed that in the workshop, there will be a representative from MoH HR unit.
Mr. Kennedy Auma and Dr. Joyce Sitonik were re-elected as the committee chairperson and vice chairperson respectively.This was the first meeting under the directorship of the elected KHF vice chair Dr.Elizabeth Wala and Ms.Faith Muigai.
Private health sector advocates for quality healthcare services and patient safety
Healthcare regulations and quality standards are aimed at ensuring that health services are safe, effective and of good quality, and that they are provided in accredited healthcare facilities by duly qualified health professionals.
The Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF) health regulations and quality standards committee held a breakfast meeting at KHF offices on 16th August 2018. The meeting was chaired by the committee chair, Ms. Millicent Olulo. In their previous meeting, the committee had engaged Ms. Doris Mueni, Deputy Director, Kenya Accreditation Services (KENAS), to clarify on the functions of accreditation and certification bodies. She advised that accreditation ensures an organization is competent to perform specific functions in a reliable, credible and accurate manner, while certification is provided to mark compliance with a standard or specification. There are major benefits of accreditation such as quality improvement in internal operations, safeguarding credibility of results from conformity assessment activities, and improved market image.
There has been much engagement between Ministry of Health (MoH), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and the Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS) to see how to adopt the Kenya Quality Model for Health (KQMH) as national standards for quality and patient safety. It was noted that KQMH has been revised and piloted in four counties and that the next steps as outlined in the tool are roll out of adequate human resources for health, definition of the private sector’s and counties’ roles, establishment of clear road maps based on the pilot and assessment, making a sustainability plan, and identifying public – private partnership (PPP) opportunities for the private sector in implementing KQMH.
It was also noted that there should be discussions with MoH on the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda, particularly on the following aspects: Whether it is prudent to solely rely on the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to deliver UHC for Kenyans – would this compromise quality of care? Secondly, there needs to be a focus on quality assurance and a reliable supply chain. Ms. Faith Muigai urged KHF to have a strong position on quality of care. Ms. Muigai will develop a position statement to advocate for quality of care for UHC which will be presented to the Parliamentary health committee. There was a suggestion that Dr. Charles Kandie and Dr. Jared Nyakiba who deal with quality and safety policies at MoH be invited to the next committee meeting to enrich further discussions on accreditation of hospitals and patient safety.
The committee held elections of officials for a new term. Ms. Millicent Olulo and Mr. Antony Jaccodul were re-elected as chair and vice chair respectively. This was the first committee meeting under the directorship of the newly elected vice chair, Dr. Elizabeth Wala, and Director, Ms. Faith Muigai.
Seventh East Africa Healthcare Federation Conference
Ethiopia hosted the 7th annual East Africa Federation conference at Africa Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa from 9th to 10th July 2018. The conference is held annually and hosted in turns by EAHF members Kenya Healthcare Federation, Uganda Healthcare Federation, Rwanda Healthcare Federation, Burundi Healthcare Federation, Tanzania Private Health Sector and Ethiopia Private Health Facilities Employers Association. Last year’s conference was hosted by Tanzania Private Health Sector in Dar-es Salaam Tanzania.
The theme of the Addis Ababa conference was “Revolutionizing Healthcare through Digital Technology in Africa”, with the objectives as; to enhance the progress of healthcare in the region through technological advancements, to bring private sector stakeholders and policymakers under one roof to discuss means to achieve health and health related sustainable development goals and to engage in high level discussions on public private partnerships (PPP). The conference was graced by His Excellency Dr. Amir Aman, Minister of Health for Ethiopia, and senior officials from the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
In attendance were multi-lateral and bi-lateral development partners, such as USAID, CDC, international development organizations, and international institutions including the AU. From the private sector, international investors, CEOs, as well as medical directors of hospitals and medical universities were in attendance. In his opening remarks, the conference director Dr. Dawit Moges, of Sister Akelesia Memorial General Hospital said “ The primary goal for this conference is to bring together global leaders, policy makers, health professionals and investors as well as friends and partners of healthcare from around the world in an open dialogue, under one roof to discuss the issues facing the sector and to develop possible strategies on how the private sector can become aware and more engaged in initiatives taking place in public – private partnerships (PPP).
In her welcome address, the president of The East Africa Healthcare Federation, Ms. Zelealem Fisheha noted that “Access to good health is a right for all; each and every one of us wants to live in good health and healthy conditions; but it is a right that a lot of citizens in East Africa still cannot enjoy today. Ms. Fisheha expressed that “Using digitization, we will push through a paradigm shift in healthcare. From being expensive, reactive, and system – oriented, we make healthcare abundant, proactive and patient focused”.
Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF),Chairman Dr. Amit Thakker thanked the private health sector team in Ethiopia for hosting them and for the great advocacy role they are doing. “The biggest challenge in achieving equitable healthcare across our continent is the lack of information sharing between all stakeholders. High quality of knowledge exchange about all healthcare requirements and activities is the first step towards strengthening the quality of policies and regulations that form the bed rock of robust national programs. Hence it is critical to focus on dialogue and strong partnerships between the government and private sector at the national, regional and continental level.” Said Dr. Thakker. The two-day conference brought together over 400 participants as well as a number local and international exhibitors.
Kenya Healthcare Federation sets foundation for Ethiopia Healthcare Federation
The Ethiopian Private Health Sector organized a committee, to visit Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF) on June 6th – 8th 2018, with the aim of meeting with the secretariat and member associations of Kenya Healthcare Federation as recommended by the World Bank consultant. The main objective was to interact with their experience and gain knowledge on how to organize and structure the anticipated Ethiopian Healthcare Federation,that will be the voice of the Non State Actors (NSA) in the health sector. The Ethiopian team met with various KHF members including Kenyan Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI), Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK), National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK), Kenya Medical Women’s Association (KEMWA) and Kenya Medical Association (KMA).
KAPI was represented by Dr. William Mwatu, Dr. Francis M. Karanja and Dr. Eva Amwayi who introduced themselves to the Ethiopian delegation as one of the pioneer associations to be established in the pharmaceutical sector. It plays a great role in safe – guarding the interests of its members by getting involved in policy drafting and implemention. It also has implemented a self-regulatory system within its member institutions which has played a key role in a fostering a close working relationship between its stakeholders and public sector. It’s financial sustainability is guaranteed through membership contributions, projects supported by partners such as; the World Bank, IFC, Netherlands embassy as well as Public – Private Partnership (PPP) programs in the sector. The association’s membership is voluntary and open to institution in the pharmaceutical sector that subscribes to KAPI’s code of ethics.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) was represented by their CEO, Dr. Daniella Munene, Dr. Munene introduced the 58 year old organization to the Ethiopian delegates, informing them that PSK seeks to promote ethical practice and promote continuous professional development (CPD) amongst it’s members. She went on to explain that PSK membership is drawn from members working in private, NGO and public sectors provided they are registered by regulator, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board. The society provides CPD to members, requiring them to attain a certain number of CPD points annually for renewal of membership. PSK membership is in turn a mandatory requirement for annual licensure by the regulator .
This constitutes a self – regulatory model which goes a long way in curbing malpractice and gives the society leverage in enforcing membership. The National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) was represented by their President, Mr. Alfred O. Obengo. He informed the Ethiopia delegation that NNAK fifty years old and one of the strongest members of the KHF due to it’s numbers. The association functions in all 47 counties of the nation. At grass root level, the local branches of the association deals with the local county administrative organs. The national association has a seat at KHF where it presents the issues that are not solved at the county level. This is the key benefit cited by Mr. Obengo that NNAK has gained from being a member of KHF. He further elaborated that KHF has contributed a lot to the Universal Health Coverage(UHC) agenda of the country, as the government has identified private sector as missing link in UHC – realization. Other benefit of KHF membership as mentioned by Mr. Obengo are networking and – new business opportunities its members. NNAK also provides a CPD program to its members, who must demonstrate that they attained the minimum number of CPD points at the time of annual license renewal.
Dr. Christine Sadia, National Chair of Kenya Medical Women’s Association (KEMWA) introduced her association to the Ethiopian team, informing them that the association has a strategy known as “From Womb to Tomb” that focuses on women, encouraging them to take care of themselves in the midst of their demanding dual roles of home makers and health professionals. Membership is open to all healthcare professionals. Their members are also members of their parent Kenya Medical Association(KMA).KEMWA has a program that supports their members to go back to school to further their education. Dr. Jacqueline Kitulu, President, Kenya Medical Association(KMA), welcomed the Ethiopians and explained that KMA has a very strong voice in KHF as it is also represented in the Board of Directors.
The Ethiopian delegates were later invited for a dinner meeting by COSMOS Pharmaceuticals where, Dr. Dawit Moges expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome and hospitality given by KHF Secretariat, In addition, he applauded the advocacy work being done by different Healthcare Associations in Kenya saying, “As a pioneer in the region KHF has accomplished lots of impressive deeds that should be taken as exemplary and should be considered to be installed in ours. The Ministerial Stakeholder Forum” and the “Presidential Round Table” could be the first milestone that should be given emphasis while drawing the roadmap of the long journey of Ethiopia Healthcare Federation. Openness to all health associations for membership and revenue generation through projects can also be emulated” He concluded.
The Role of Private Health Sector in Achieving Universal Health Coverage
The healthcare finance committee held a dinner meeting at Pride Inn Hotel in Westlands on 13th August 2018 to discuss finance advocacy progress that the committee has made towards achieving universal health coverage(UHC). The meeting was chaired by the committee chair Dr. Isaac Nzyoka. This was also the first meeting under the directorship of the new elected Board Director, Dr. Walter Obita. The healthcare finance committee has been mandated to oversee the UHC advocacy agenda at Kenya Healthcare Federation, while reflecting and amplifying the voice of the private sector. The committee has been able to hold county health stakeholders forums(CSF) in five counties.
The focal areas of the CSF engagements were: educating counties on different financing schemes, social/private empowering counties on healthcare financing opportunities they have i.e. private insurance, macro insurance and public insurance, encouraging innovations e.g. Makueni care and Kitui care and bringing together the public and private stakeholders in healthcare financing. County health departments have been evaluating financing models that ensure equitable access to quality and affordable healthcare, without financial strain, for all their people. Different counties have identified different financing models.
Nationally, the national hospital insurance fund(NHIF) has been positioned as the main financier for universal health coverage(UHC). This is a good initiative, but there are fears of overburdening of NHIF and that the poor & marginalized may be left out. This has resulted in various that will cover the poor, the old people and marginalized.
“To reach the Ministry of Health (MOH) aspirations of achieving UHC by 2022, there is need for greater innovation and ‘business unusual.’ It is essential that we ensure that coverage or affordable healthcare for the poor are part of the agenda and that the poor are not left out.” Dr. Amit Thakker, Kenya Healthcare Federation Chairman ,said in one CSF. Dr. Thakker further recommended that NHIF should be reformed to be more responsive to counties needs and that private medical insurance schemes should also be reformed to create a more enabling environment that encourages innovation. Moreover, he said “NHIF should only focus on growth once it has the capacity to ensure that it can handle increased coverage.”
There was positive feedback from the counties on the CSF engagements, saying they benefited from the forum in terms of thinking about healthcare financing options for their population. They realized that they cannot solely rely on NHIF to deliver Universal Health Coverage, however the county should implement their own favorable models that will include the poor and the old people without financial strain.
In parallel, the Benefits Advisory Panel, set up by the Heath Cabinet Secretary Mrs. Sicily Kariuki, to come up with costs and packages for UHC, invited KHF for a stakeholder engagement to discuss on the benefits packages and costs. It was noted that NHIF was not clear on how the poor will be covered. Dr. Amit Thakker requested the panel to share the benefits and cost packages with KHF team so that they can evaluate for any gaps and further advise on what should be done inorder to improve it.