Of recent, the Government of Kenya (GoK) prioritized Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in its Big Four Agenda over the next five years. The Big Four Agenda which is aimed at accelerating economic growth focuses on food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and universal health.
The Government is set to roll out Universal Health Coverage to all households by 2022 to guarantee access to quality and affordable healthcare by reconfiguring the National Hospital Insurance Fund and reforming the governance of private insurance companies to align them to the universal health coverage.
Focus on universal health stands out as the most significant and conceivably the most important strategic priority for Kenya. The reality is that a majority of Kenyans can hardly afford or even access health services in their various communities.
The governments’ agenda to invest in health will indeed spur economic growth. The move demonstrates that the government values the need for human capital. A healthy population will engage in various economic activities hence contribute to the growth and development of Kenya.
Sexual and reproductive health and rights cut across each of the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. Sex and reproduction are essentially intimate affairs, played out within personal and familial relationships. However, the consequences of a lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services, supplies, information and education are felt across entire populations, in social and economic life.
The recently launched State of African Women Report by International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) warns that unless countries make urgent commitment to invest in tangible actions for improving the Sexual health and lives of women and girls in Africa, the continent will continue to have poor development outcomes.
Making This a Reality
To realize this the Kenyan government will work the county government to scale up the provision of specialized medical equipment and increase the number of health facilities at the community level, including mobile facilities in order to increase access to health services.
The existing Linda Mama program, a free maternity care program is slated for expansion to mission and private hospitals to enlist community volunteers who will assist in healthcare service provision at grassroots level.
Training of medical doctors is also set to commence, including the sourcing of health specialists from outside in order to fill the existing medical gaps.
In terms of realization of sexual and reproductive health, the Ministry of Health, civil society organizations and other stakeholders have this opportune moment to work with county governments to ensure that part of the chunk that is set for health goes into the improvement of sexual and reproductive health.
Why is this Relevant?
In the national context, the Big Four are rightly pegged on the Kenya Vision 2030 and well-mainstreamed in the third-Medium Term Plan (2018-2022) of the Vision, due for launch soon. At the continental level, the Big Four Agenda aligns well with Africa’s Agenda 2063 themed “The Africa We Want”. At the global level, the Big Four Agenda is effectively aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, upon which the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are anchored.