The need to provide quality, affordable and equitable health services, has pushed universal health coverage (UHC) to the top of global health policy agenda. Similarly, the Kenyan Government has also established the attainment of UCH among its top four key deliverables.
The journey towards attaining this has been marked by numerous challenges as policymakers and various stakeholders source for varied interventions in finding sustainable and innovative ways to financing and implementing UHC. Strathmore Business School’s Institute of Healthcare Management in collaboration with E&K Consulting held its inaugural Health Exchange stakeholder convention discussing; “Universal Healthcare Coverage as one of the big four agendas of the government – What Now?”
Working towards the attainment of UHC will require a definitive response which can only kick off by defining the parameters of UHC.
“The Three tenets of UHC are equality, accessibility, and affordability,” said Dr. Njeri Mwaura – Senior Health Specialist, International Finance Corporation (IFC) World Bank Group. In a similar response, Dr. Stella Bosire, CEO Kenya Medical Association, reaffirmed the importance of ensuring that the foundations of UHC are set right, “We have to start from the bottom; which is at primary Healthcare. If we get Primary Healthcare right, we can get UHC right as well.”
A central factor towards attaining UHC has been in attaining a balance between affordable and quality financing model. “Each country has a unique path towards attaining UHC. We need to ask ourselves what resources do we have currently, by looking at it broadly at both Public and Private sector involvement. The key element is by considering how we can change the financing mechanism and make them innovative to the country,” said Dr. Mwaura.
Contributing to the topic; Dr. Githinji Gitahi, AMREF Health Africa Group CEO, brought to attention the various methods of financing UHC. “It is important that we look for financing mechanisms that close the equity gap.” In consideration of pooling the country’s resources together to create a sustainable financing model, Ruben, (Advisor UN strategic Partnerships Kenya Coordinator SDG Platform), emphasised on the need of optimizing public-private partnerships in ensuring that all stakeholders get involved.
Addressing quality concerns across Healthcare facilities; Dr. Bosire urged healthcare practitioners to critically consider a patient-centered approach towards the provision of care, which traverses from human resource to patients.
With advancements in the field of telemedicine drawing numerous applications in bettering the provision of healthcare; Dr. Githinji called for a thoughtful approach in assessing the impact of telemedicine and further; reviewing how its applications can be aligned into a strategic framework which addresses UHC.
Health Exchange (HealthX) is an interactive platform that brings together stakeholders (investors, the private sector including SMEs and startups, policymakers, civil society and academia) with an interest in healthcare in Africa to deliberate and surface the continent’s most pressing current and future problems and possible solutions. The platform also aims at bridging the rift between academia and the industry/marketplace and to stimulate the development and exchange of information and innovative ideas on overarching health issues such as financing, technology, research to mention a few.