Kenya CSOs now unveil Roadmap to push for universal health coverage

Kenya CSOs, including the networks of people living with, at risk of and affected by diseases are in the final stages of unveiling a roadmap to help guide their engagement in universal health coverage initiatives. The need for a roadmap emerged after it became apparent that there are many activities and events that relate to universal health coverage happening at communities, county, national and global levels and which need the engagement of communities and CSOs for their acceleration. The roadmap is based on a UHC work plan developed earlier under the leadership of the Health NGOs Network (HENNET).

The roadmap is an outcome of a meeting which brought together 48 participants from various organizations working to improve health and well-being of Kenyans held in Nairobi last week. The meeting, supported by AHF-Kenya followed a high-level panel co-hosted by NEPHAK and the Kenya Medical Association to mark the 2017 universal health coverage Day. The Kenyan UHC Day event happened few hours after the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution that finally made Universal Health Coverage Day official. The decision of the UN follows the 2016 petition by the UHC global coalition that called for recognition of 12 December as Universal Health Coverage Day.

For Kenya, the last three weeks and especially last week saw a myriad of developments and pronouncements that excited those with interest on universal health coverage. First was the commitment by President Uhuru Kenyatta for ‘100% target on universal health coverage for all households in 5 years,’ which was followed by a rallying call for Kenyans to join and support the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). The President later issued four-pillar action plan and which included health care, a promise that was echoed by the Dr. Mailu, the Cabinet Secretary of Health at a global UHC Forum in Tokyo, Japan.

The most exciting news for the Kenya UHC movement emerged from the global forum in Japan where Kenya was selected for the Tokyo Joint UHC initiative as one of the 10 pilot countries. The initiative is in collaboration with the Government of Japan, JICA, the World Bank, the World Health Organization and UNICEF. And that was not all, another development was that Dr. Githinji Gitahi, the CEO of AMREF was nominated as global Co-Chair of the global UHC initiative.

Earlier, the WHO and World Bank released a report 2017 Global Monitoring Report on UHC (https://goo.gl/whhxao), showing that half the world’s people – more than 3.5 billion – don’t receive all the essential health services they need. This includes one billion people living with uncontrolled hypertension, 200 million women without access to family planning and 20 million infants unprotected by vaccines. Similarly, 800 million people experience catastrophic out-of-pocket health costs each year. In other words, 1 in 9 people spends more than 10% of their household budgets paying for health. The Kenya UHC movement hopes to push Kenya out of these challenges and ensures the delivery of universal health coverage. For NEPHAK, this is a task that requires broad-based partnership and advocacy.