Professor Freddie Ssengooba- SPEED Director- was one of the experts invited for a three-day conference by the government of the Republic of Kenya to provide expertise on establishment of UHC in the country. It should be noted that President Uhuru Kenyatta in his last term in office promised Kenyans through his manifesto, to address four main issues by 2022. These include;
• Providing UHC to all Kenyans; where all Kenyans will receive quality and affordable health care services. He also wants to see Kenya (Nairobi) grow into a destination for medical tourism.
• Promotion of industrialisation in Kenya
• Improving housing conditions and facilities for all Kenyans
• Ensuring food security for all Kenyans.
The Director-General of WHO visited the cabinet members of the Government of Kenya to discuss how the government could be helped in the realization of this manifesto.
Following this announcement, the President through the Cabinet Secretary requested the Ministry of Health to put up an expert team to draft a plan that can support realisation this goal by 2022.
As a way forward, the Ministry of Health invited different technical people with vast experience in health and most especially UHC from across the world. Professor Ssengooba was one of the experts nominated by the WHO Director-General, given his vast experience on UHC in Uganda. Other individuals who were invited included individuals from UK, Peru, Netherlands and some from Tanzania especially on the costing of UHC. The role of this experts’ team was to review documents that were availed by Ministry of Health, cabinet and other bodies in Kenya to provide guidance for advancing the UHC agenda in Kenya.
The team of experts met people from the Kenyan National Health Insurance Scheme, Ministry of Health technical people, donors, and politicians among others. These individuals provided insights on the challenges and some of the critical issues that need to be addressed for the realization of UHC in Kenya.
At the end of the meeting, the team of experts came up with a synthesis paper with a number of recommendations that the Kenyan government ought to undertake for the realization of UHC.
Key recommendations included;
• The Government of Kenya to carefully consider aggregating the money (funds) available to purchase the items needed.
• Put emphasis on primary health care provision
• Put in place mechanisms to control costs
• Having clear knowledge and understanding of what coverage means.
The team of experts was requested to continue supporting the Kenya team to realise this undertaking.
Light moment: Professor Ssengooba exchanges pleasantries with the Kenya Minister of Health