Since its conception in 2004, Kenya Healthcare Federation’s (KHF) network has grown steadily, bringing together a diverse group of private healthcare organisations to network, learn and reason together as a unified voice. This became evident when over 40 healthcare financing champions stepped away from their normal schedule to take part in a groundbreaking topic, “Healthcare Financing and Universal Health Coverage”, on the 23rd of March 2016 at Sankara Hotel Nairobi.
The breakfast meeting which was hosted by Financial Sector Deepening, Kenya Healthcare Federation (KHF) and Private Sector Partnership for Health (PSP4H) realised fruitful discussions around healthcare financing challenges in Kenya and possible solutions for the same. Dr. Omar H. of Ministry of Health Kenya gave the opening remarks where he briefed everybody of the success of the recent Healthcare financing tour to Japan by Kenya organised by JICA.
During the event, findings from the new FSD financial diaries report, “Struggling to thrive: How Kenya’s low income families (try to) pay for healthcare,“ was released in a presentation by Julie Zollmann. The report which includes recommendations for stakeholders working towards UHC, moved the audience to heated dialogs.
Hot topics on the table were issue surrounding NHIF, role of the private sector in achieving UHC, what and how to fix Public Private Partnership (PPP) and private health insurers greater penetrations to the low income market.
Chairman of Kenya Healthcare Federation Dr Amit N. Thakker who was also the chief host, coordinated the roundtable discussions which are to be documented as the views of the private sector as an input for the Kenya Health Financing Strategy. Some of the major Healthcare champions who attended were Dr. Amit N. Thakker of KHF, Dr Omar H of MOH, Mr Daniel Mulinge of NHIF, Mr Isaac Nzyoka of UAP Insurance, Dr Njeri Mwaura and Jane Chuma of World Bank Group and Ron Ashkin of PSP4H.
Organizations who participated in the discussions towards the role of the private sector in Kenya’s strategy to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) included Ministry of Health Kenya, NHIF, KHF through its directors, World Bank Group, PSP4H, JICA, UAP Insurance, PS Kenya, Grameen Foundation, GE Healthcare, Mariestopes Kenya, UNICEF, Pharm Access Foundation, KMA, Kabarak University Health store, FSD, Intrahealth International, Madison Insurance, Microensure, KAFP, CFW Clinics, FSDK, and R4D.
From the FSD financial diaries report, “struggling to thrive” it’s evident that Kenya has made great strides in improving key health outcomes for its population, despite this advances the reality is that the direct and indirect cost of healthcare remain an important barrier to access and in turn better health for Kenyans low income groups. The government effort to eliminate user fees have not solved the cost problem since a large number of visits continue to take place at private facilities and stock outrages often force the poor to purchase drugs from private pharmacies.
KHF’s Healthcare financing committee chaired by Isaac Nzyoka’ of UAP Insurance will continuously engage with the government in healthcare financing policy formulation meetings and specifically the Kenya Health Financing Strategy to voice support and concerns and provide alternative solutions from the private sector to issues facing the healthcare financing.