Kenya's health sector is poorly funded, report

The report by National Taxpayers Association has exposed massive intrigues and discrepancies in Kenya’s health sector.

 

This far way below the minimum required as in the Abuja Declaration. The declaration, according to the 2017 Community Health Scorecard report released by the National Taxpayers Association (NTA), targeted at least a 15 percent by 2015.

The report has exposed massive intrigues and discrepancies in Kenya’s health sector. Despite significant budgetary increments by the Ministry of Health, the report says, funding for health centers remain inadequate.

This has seen the poor service delivery in some parts of the country, coupled by inadequate medical staff in health facilities across the country.

“In some parts of the country, you find that there are so many projects being initiated by politicians who may not necessarily liaise with Ministry of Health to know what is the vision as far as staffing and equipping the newly built health facilities is concerned,” said Irene Otieno, NTA Project Officer.

Worst hit

Of the counties sampled in the report, Nakuru, Nyeri and Makueni Counties are said to have increased allocations to the health sector, while Uasin Gishu’s allocations fell by about 2 percent between Financial Years 2013/14 and 2014/15 for the sector.

“County governments have allocated more funds to the health sectors despite competing needs from other sectors including agriculture, water, roads and transportation,” read part of the report seen by P Live Kenya.

Jubilee Administration

The report has attributed the course for less funding and inefficiency in running of the sector to delayed disbursement of funds to the counties, despite health being a devolved function.

The report has exposed a limited number of health facilities in rural and slum areas, which has impacted negatively on access to medical care by Kenyans living in such areas.

Being in cognizant of the Jubilee Administration, the report enumerates that investments in the sector recorded a 31 percent increase in 2015 and 22 percent in 2016.

However, the deficit in funding is as a result of pure dependent on the national government by the county governments, coupled with delayed disbursement of finances to run the facilities.

Counties have instead been urged to devise ways of generating income to supplement the national government funding.

“Approximately 70 percent of urban dwellers have access to health facilities within 4 kilometres compared to only 30 percent of the rural population,” read the report.

Variations

Data contained in the study indicates that Nyeri county is leading in access to health services with 42.4 health facilities per 100,000 persons, followed by Kirinyaga county (42.4 health facilities per 100,000 persons) with Lamu county coming in third (38.4 health facilities per 100,000 persons).

Undeserved areas include Trans Nzoia county (at 0.4 health facilities per 100,000 persons), Busia county (at 9.3 health facilities per 100,000 persons), Bungoma county (at 9.1 health facilities 100,000 persons) and Mandera county (at 7.3 health facilities per 100,000 persons). Mandera County is the worst hit in the fray.

Nairobi and Mombasa counties have 18 and 27.6 health facilities per 100,000 people respectively.

Statistics held at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), shows that 20 percent of Kenyans (9 million) experience illness every month with 7.8 million of these, seeking medical attention at over 10,000 health facilities.

Discrepancy

The study has highlighted a huge disconnect between service charter editorials and actual practice as most services listed in the charters were unavailable.

Speaking during the launch of a Community Health Scorecard by the National Taxpayers Association earlier, head of the Department of Health Standards, Quality Assurance and Regulations, Pacifica Onyancha, said there was need to provide information of availability of medical services in community health centres to enhance service delivery.

“We have gazetted the kind of services that are available at different levels of hospitals so that citizens know where to seek services,” she noted.

Doctor’s stalemate

This comes in the wake of the government having locked horns with the doctors in the ongoing doctors strike that has hit its 59th day today.

Doctors, thorough their trade union Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists' Union (KMPDU) is pushing for the full implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that was entered between the two parties.

On Tuesday, January 31st, the Labour Relations Court Lady Justice Hellen Wasilwa ordered the start of negotiations between the doctors and government officials, doctors have faulted the Ministry of Health, Council of Governors and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission of negligence and sabotage.

Doctor’s union officials face a jail term of one month should the new ultimatum issued to them by the Industrial Court expire.

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