As a delegation of Kenyan government led by President Uhuru Kenyatta embarks on a three day trip to Havana, Cuba where discussion surrounding Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and pharmaceutical manufacturing will take centre stage, Kenya will be bench-marking with the world’s best.
The trip, initially mooted in 2017 when Kenya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Cuba for strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries and deepening collaboration in health, trade and culture, however seems poised to benefit Kenya more on the health front.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), Cuba is among the global leaders in terms of universal health coverage with all citizens provided with a free and comprehensive coverage which includes dental care. This healthcare system has been recognized as a model for the world far ahead of United states as well as other developed countries.
Kenya desire to improve the healthcare system has picked momentum with President Uhuru’s Big four agenda in which universal health coverage is key among his priories.
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In comparison to Cuba, Kenya’s healthcare has suffered under myriad of challenges including low funding, limited equipment and ineffective diagnostic systems.
National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) which is mandated to push for a universal care is characterized by low uptake and limited services covered. The benefits are mainly inpatient expenses with the share of coverage determined by hospital frequented as well as the service sought.
“There is a great opportunity, during the President’s visit for the two nations to expand the MoU implementation for the achievement of universal healthcare an important deliverable in President Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda,” said State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu in a statement.
Under the Big Four agenda, Kenya plans to raise uptake of NHIF to 25 million Kenyans by end of 2018 up from 16 million currently as well as raise health budget allocation to 10 percent. As part of attaining 100 percent universal health coverage, the government plans to attract up to $2 billion private sector investment, enhance both community and private medical insurance and digitize health.