Kenyans to benefit from the health Benefit Package
Government wants to ensure that all people have equal access to quality health services without suffering financial difficulty that leads to selling of patients’ assets in order to pay mounting hospital bills.
The ministry of health is therefore involved in selecting the set of health services which will be available to all Kenyans dubbed Health Benefits Package (HBD).
Speaking today during the inauguration of Health Benefit Package Advisory Panel (HBAP) Ministry of Health, Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said for Universal Health Care (UHC) to work in providing care that is accessible to everyone and reducing health inequities, choices have to be made on where to start and then improve over time.
These choices, she explained must be guided by a robust process that is based on sound principles that will take into account the best available evidence of what works, what it costs, with a focus on protecting vulnerable Kenyans and reducing health disparities.
“HBAP of experts will work with my Ministry, the County governments, stake holders and the public, to define the Health Benefits package which will form the starting point of the country’s UHC journey,” the CS said.
Kariuki said that the initial phase of the Panel’s work will be completed in time for the roll-out of the UHC Pilot in the 4 Counties; that is Kisumu, Isiolo, Nyeri and Machakos.
During this first phase of UHC, in collaboration with County Governments, the CS said the Ministry of Health shall diligently monitor the responsiveness of the package to the needs of Kenyans and this will inform the scale up UHC to the rest of the country.
“We are working with all relevant health sector stakeholders and inter-sectoral stakeholders to ensure that we deliver on the President’s pledge,” she said.
One of the Pillars of the Big 4 Agenda focuses on Universal Health Coverage for the people of Kenya and in line with the global push towards Universal Health Coverage; President Uhuru has made a bold commitment to invest in the health of Kenyans.
The CS urged Kenyans to support and engage with the Health Benefits Advisory Panel on Kenya’s journey towards attaining UHC and went ahead to clarify that the 100 Cuban doctors will not be part of UHC but is part of an army that will continually improve and expand the service delivery in health.
The HBAP chair professor Gilbert Kokwaro said that the health benefit package developed by the panel is intended to be a collection of health services that will be provided to Kenyans.
“Article 43(1) of the constitution enshrines, enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health as a right of every Kenyan,” said Kokwaro
He explained that the panel has deliberated on two deliverables which are to come up with standard criteria for assessing of inclusion and exclusion of services and procedures which are drugs, medical supplies and technologies.
They will also set up a portfolio of services and procedure that are properly costed using the best quality evidence.
The Panel’s main task is to design an affordable, responsive health benefit package for the delivery of UHC in the country
The UHC Health Benefit Package Advisory panel (HBAP) was formed by the CS through a notice in the Kenya Gazette (No 5627) on June 8, 2018 and is supposed to give its reports on the two deliverables within 60 days.
By Wangari Ndirangu and Pauscaline