The Kenyan Government is presently in the process of enacting healthcare reforms. After President Uhuru Kenyatta won the 2013 presidential race, he promised Kenyans to overhaul the entire healthcare system to make sure that every citizen has access to the highest attainable health standard (Flessa, Moeller, Ensor, and Hornetz, 2011). Within the first 100 days, President Uhuru implemented a gradual process that offered free services to disadvantaged populations such as breastfeeding and expectant mothers, patients that were HIV positive and the disabled people.
The government has upheld its promises to the citizen through various reforms such as the National Hospital Insurance Fund (IHIF) Reform, the Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the Kenya Health Sector Strategic Plan and the Health Policy Goal. NHIF has introduced new reforms such as the Civil Servants Scheme, health insurance subsidy for the poor, stepwise quality improvement systems, and the upward revision of provider reimbursement rates reform among others (Barasa, Rogo, Mwaura, and Chuma 2018). The economic driver behind these reforms is to make health services available at low costs.
The government of Kenya has made UHC a top priority. Major policy and legal instruments have also been established to increase the progress on the reforms. According to the Health Minister of Kenya, Dr. Cleopa Mailu, the government has connected the UHC with the national hospital insurance funds’ (NHIF) and included it in its constitution (Chuma, Maina, and Ataguba 2012). Through the UHC, Kenyans have access to curative, preventive, rehabilitative, and supportive healthcare interventions that are provided at an affordable cost. The poor will most benefit from this initiative as it is distributed based on the need for immediate care and not the ability to pay.
However, these reforms have faced much criticism from different political parties and organized groups such as the Media. According to an article written in the Standard Newspaper, the government should not focus on medical insurance when providing universal healthcare (Ruriga 2017). More so, some groups are for the opinion that NHIF mode is unsustainable while others think that there should be more clinical officers and not doctors. Recently, the Nurses Union criticized the new health reforms claiming that they prevent them from seeking top jobs.
Barasa, E., Rogo, K., Mwaura, N. and Chuma, J., 2018. Kenya National Hospital Insurance Fund Reforms: Implications and Lessons for Universal Health Coverage. Health Systems & Reform, 4(4), pp.346-361.
Chuma, J., Maina, T. and Ataguba, J., 2012. Does the distribution of health care benefits in Kenya meet the principles of universal coverage?. BMC public health, 12(1), p.20.
Flessa, S., Moeller, M., Ensor, T. and Hornetz, K., 2011. Basing care reforms on evidence: the Kenya health sector costing model. BMC health services research, 11(1), p.128.
Ruriga, D., 2017. Four reasons why Kenya’s universal healthcare will fail. https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001264370/four-reasons-why-kenya-s-universal-healthcare-will-fail