If someone were to ask you; what is the number one challenge facing the healthcare system in Kenya, what would you say? Is it;
A. The lack of adequate human resource and expertise to address medical needs
B. Limited access to health care facilities
C. Poor infrastructure or
D. Lack of effective personnel to execute tasks.
Depending on the county or environment you’re in, you’re bound to give a different answer and in some contexts, all of the above might apply. Nonetheless, this doesn’t negate that Kenya has covered great milestones and notable improvements have been witnessed in the healthcare system.
For instance, in 1963, death rates used to be up to 20 per 1000 persons and the life expectancy stood at 40 years. However, following the intensified reforms made in the healthcare system over the years, the latest value reads 5.47 deaths per 1000 people as of 2018. Life expectancy has also increased from 40 to 66.70 years and infant mortality rate has declined significantly.
But even with such improvements, it’s no secret that the overall state of the healthcare system in Kenya cannot be compared to that of countries like Singapore, yet both economies were once at par in 1979. Mind you, as of 2020, Singapore is ranked 26 out of 93 countries, and with a quality score of 70.97, whereas Kenya takes position 71 with a health care index of 55.58.
So how do we get closer to Singapore or even South Korea, which takes the second position and with a health care index of 82.26?
Research points out, if a health facility is to deliver quality healthcare to its patients, (which eventually contributes to the health care index of a country), first it should be well equipped with the right tools and equipment.
The 5.9 million investment which was made in order to increase capacity and service delivery in health centres across Kenya, comes at a time when the country’s healthcare system is facing an overwhelming weakness due to the COVID-19 surge.
Full List of Beneficiaries and Amounts include;
Full haemoglobin Machine to Katito Sub-County Laboratory Hospital, Kisumu County funded at a cost of Kshs 400,000.00
Haemoglobin Machine to Nyangweta Health Centre, Nyamira County funded at a cost of Kshs 400,000.00
Oxygen Concentrator and Centrifuge Machine to Esianya Dispensary, Nyamira County funded at a cost of Kshs 400,000.00
Equipped Maternity Wing to Andingo Opanga Health Centre, Kisumu County funded at a cost of Kshs 400,000.00
A significant number of Kenya’s population does not have healthcare insurance, and with poverty rates remaining relatively high, only a few can pay for their healthcare treatments in both public and private hospitals.
That said, this investment addresses major challenges, including; supply chain, procurement of infrastructure, health care financing, innovation and technology and just as important it takes the quality of healthcare in Kenya a notch higher.
Joseph Ogutu, the Chairman Safaricom Foundation, highlighted that Ndoto Zetu is now in its second phase and as part of Safaricom’s philanthropic partnerships, it aims to support Kenyans who are keen to make an impact in their communities through social investments.
Perhaps the thought of Kenya attaining universal health coverage might sound more like fiction than reality. However, through initiatives like Ndoto Zetu, philanthropic partnerships or implementation of public-private partnership initiatives, the healthcare system could strengthen the creation of sustainable models which takes us closer to that reality sooner rather than later.
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