First Lady Margaret Kenyatta today commended the progress being made by the government and its partners to ensure that Kenyans have access to affordable Healthcare services.
She said the reduction and in some cases total removal of fees in public health facilities, the ongoing infrastructural expansion, the government-sponsored National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), the free maternity cover and other interventions are all aimed at protecting Kenyans especially women, children and vulnerable communities.
The First Lady spoke at a Nairobi hotel when she presided over the launch of the Lancet Global Health Commission High Quality Health Systems Report in the Sustainable Development Goals Era. First Lady Margaret Kenyatta is a member of the commission.
She expressed concern over the disparities in the quality of healthcare services offered between public and private facilities and across regions saying the huge differences present a major challenge facing the country’s healthcare system.
The First Lady said there is need to focus attention on quality healthcare that all Kenyans can trust irrespective of the provider and their regions.
“We must begin to pay closer attention to quality care, and build resilient health systems that Kenyan’s can trust and have confidence, irrespective of the facility they visit,” she said.
She said poor health systems pose an impediment to the growing demands and expectations by Kenyans on their health needs.
According to the Lancet report, 52,000 deaths occurred in Kenya in 2016 due to poor quality health systems. Out of these deaths, 32,000 were attributed to lack of access to healthcare while the rest were occasioned by poor quality care.
The First Lady said recommendations by the the Lancet report are bound to accelerate the gains made by Kenya in achieving health related SDG 2030 targets because they emphasize on quality health services as a “big win” strategy.
“We as a country have taken some steps towards enshrining the principle of patient-centred service in our healthcare systems through the Kenya Quality Models for Health guidelines developed in 2012, alongside the Joint Health Inspection Report both developed by the Ministry of Health,” the First Lady said.
Besides enhanced governance and re-organization of health services, the Lancet report calls for a people-centred modernized curricula for pre-service and in-service training of healthcare providers, system-wide actions and a system that listens and cares more.
The report also calls for a system that is more concerned with excellence and is responsive to the needs of the people it serves.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta said quality healthcare is a right for every citizen and should not be perceived as a preserve of the rich and privileged Kenyans.
She said the recommendations by the Lancet report however require strategic investment from all health partners.
The First lady said the Lancet proposals resonate well with initiatives under her Beyond Zero Strategic Framework which lay emphasis on wellness and a people-centred approach in healthcare provision.
She congratulated the Lancet global Health Commission team of experts including those from the Harvard Medical School, the World Health Organization, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and the Ministry of Health represented at the two-day conference by Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki.
Others who spoke at the high level event included the chair of the Lancet Global Health Commission of High Quality Health System Prof. Margaret Kruk, WHO representative in Kenya Dr Rudi Eggers, the Chief Executive Officer of the Council of Governors Mrs Jacqueline Mogeni and the Ag. Director General of Health Dr John Wekesa.