NAIROBI, KENYA, NOVEMBER 15 — Health workers in Kenya are undergoing training to improve the quality of health services in the country, a move that supports President Uhuru Kenyatta’s universal health care agenda under his “Big Four” Plan.
Over 120 health workers across the counties of Nairobi, Kwale, Kisumu and Vihiga have been trained on a health model that ensures continuous quality improvement in the delivery of health services in county and sub- county health facilities.
The Kenya Quality Model for Health (KQMH) is a systems approach to strengthening quality health care in Kenya towards universal health coverage, through training and mentorship using the national health information database (DHIS2).
The program has been piloted in the four counties by Amref Health Africa in Kenya through the support of the GIZ health sector programme, reaching over 38 public, private and faith-based health facilities.
Delivered through a five-day residential and non-residential programme targeting sub-county and county facilities to ensure quality improvement, focal persons have been trained, and are expected to cascade the information to all staff in their facilities through mentorship and monthly supportive supervision.
The trained teams are charged with ensuring quality improvement structures are formed and supported at the facility and continue to regularly meet and monitor improvement strategies with client focus and involvement in the journey towards universal health coverage.
Amref Health Africa’s Director of Health Systems Strengthening Dr Elizabeth Wala said: “Improving the quality of health services is a key priority in Kenya as reflected by the government’s efforts in ensuring universal health coverage for all. It is for this reason that the Kenya Quality Model of Health approach stands out as a key strategy to strengthen the quality of health services.”
“Amref Health Africa in Kenya through the support of GIZ initiated the process to ensure that we built capacity within health facilities by equipping health professionals from all levels with the knowhow to provide quality health services,” added Dr Wala.
The Kenya Quality Model for Health serves to ensure the empowerment of health facility staff through continuous medical education, mentorship and coaching on quality management across all departments.
It has also resulted in the engagement of external and internal customers for effective communication in health facilities.
The programme leverages the use of innovation and use of technology for data entry and analysis which allows regular monitoring and evaluation of KQMH activities through the existing County health information and reporting systems.
“As we move our health systems towards UHC, we need to create more linkages with quality of care. The counties where this model has been implemented create a good platform for others to learn. There is still much to be done by the counties in ensuring sustainability of the gains made and scaling this up to all health facilities,” said Amref Health Africa Country Director Dr Meshack Ndirangu.
KQMH has both structures to measure process indicators which include human resources, scope of services offered among others, and the results in each of the process indicators.
KQMH assesses all the six World Health Organisation (WHO) pillars namely: human resources for health, leadership, financing, health services delivery, health information systems, health products vaccines and technologies thus offering a critical systems approach to universal health coverage.
According to the WHO, good health is essential to sustained economic and social development and poverty reduction.
Under President Kenyatta’s “Big Four”Agenda which includes growing the country’s manufacturing sector, food security and affordable housing, the government is focused on ensuring universal healthcare access for the citizens by the year 2022.
This is one of Kenyatta’s ambitions as he seeks to leave a legacy when his second term comes to an end.
The government targets to have more than half of the 45 million Kenyans covered under the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) scheme.
NHIF is a Kenyan government state corporation with a mandate to provide health insurance to citizens over the age of 18.
The fund’s core business and mandate is to provide accessible, affordable, sustainable and quality health insurance for all Kenyan citizens who have attained the age of 18yrs and a monthly income of Ksh1, 000 (US$9.69) and above.
President Kenyatta’s administration is also keen to increase the number of health facilities at the community level, including mobile health services so that families can have free access to a fully equipped health centre within five miles of their home.
The government also seeks to establish regional cold chains for drugs and vaccines to ensure safe and high quality drugs for the health facilities.
With most Kenyans travelling to India for treatment of cancer, the government is also keen to establish at least one specialized cancer hospital in the country to reduce the financial burden and other challenges faced by patients seeking treatment abroad.