ODM party leader Raila Odinga has outlined some of the opportunities Kenya needs to grab if it is to deal with universal health care.
In a long statement on Sunday, Raila said Kenya needs a robust primary public healthcare system starting from the family level to the public healthcare delivery system as a whole .
He said Kenya must invest in a compulsory health insurance scheme that takes care of both the employed and the unemployed, including farmers and the self employed.
“We must ensure that this health insurance scheme gives the government primary responsibility to pay. For the extreme poor in rural and urban areas,” he said.
Raila said the rest of the population should contribute to and receive health coverage from the insurance scheme under the principle of from each according to his/her ability and to each according to his or her need.
“In this arrangement, we can then put the money in a kitty from which everybody gets health insurance coverage in a sustainable manner,” he said.
Noting that the insurance cover should be able to make additional revenue by investing in income generating activities, Raila said with such a fund, every Kenyan would be assured of accessing curative services.
“This is without the debilitating effects of out of pocket expenses that is currently a big burden,” he said.
He said that even a universal health insurance scheme will fail in an environment that lacks proper primary and preventive health.
“Covid-19 has reminded us of things we we knew but ignored. We need to invest in cases like hygiene access to clean water, good nutrition,” he said.
“That is why urban centres need to have more space for not motorized transport while the question of healthy feeding must be a national concern.”
In his outline, he says that Kenya should set timelines within which we ensure substantial increase in the number of medical institutions medical staff medical insurance scheme clinics and hospital beds.
“Universal healthcare cannot entirely be financed by the exchequer. Going forward we must relentlessly pursue the implementation of universal health coverage and the requisite legal and institutional reforms needed we need to urgently pay attention to,” he said.
Universal Healthcare for all Kenyans has always been a dream for Kenya but it’s take off has been slow, and marred with challenges, some of which have been man-made.
During the Narc government, Health minister Charity Ngilu presented to Parliament a bill on Universal Healthcare, but the National Assembly shot it down.
A second attempt was made during the grand coalition government when the National Hospital Insurance Fund was to be turned into a major institution of provision of health insurance.