NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyan economic experts on
Thursday urged the government to tap into private sector funds
in order to achieve universal health care.
Kwame Owino, chief
executive officer of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA),
told a health forum in Nairobi that government’s health spending
in the 2017/18 financial year was about 6.7 percent of the
country’s budget, which is less than the 15 percent that the
African Union countries committed in 2001 in order to improve
the health of their citizens.
“Embracing use of
private sector funds to promote access to health services has
numerous advantages because it promotes efficiency and tends to
be more cost effective,” Owino said during a forum on emerging
health sector financing trends.
Owino said that the
primary health care budget share has been stagnant and amongst
the lowest in the East African region.
He observed that
funding of most health programs still remains donor-dependent at
about 80 percent of total funding.
Owino noted that the
rebasing of the country’s economy to a higher-income country
means that the donor support the country is receiving will
He said that
increasing health needs and the rising demand for health
services have both heightened the government’s fiscal pressures.
“Due to fiscal
constraints, many governments including Kenya are turning to the
private sector through approaches, such as public private
partnerships (PPPs), as an alternative to financing broad-based
health care provision,” he added.
The expert noted
that Kenya’s management equipment services (MES) is one such PPP
model to an inclusive health care provision.
The World Health
Organization (WHO) recommends 250 health care workers (doctors,
nurses and midwives) per 100,000 population.
Owino said that
currently Kenya has an estimated 10,921 doctors, 51,420 nurses
and 18,759 clinical officers, the combined workforce works out
to 176 per 100,000 Kenyans, just about a half of the recommended
He said that the
government considers access to health services as a critical
condition for development.
“It thus aims to
attain the highest possible standards of health in a manner
responsive to the needs of the population as noted in various
reports, including the Kenya Health Policy 2014-2030,” he said.