Health sector gets Sh146bn shot in the arm

Mutahi Kagwe

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe during an interview in his office at Afya House on March 9, 2022.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

The health sector got a shot in the arm with a Sh146.8 billion boost towards the realisation of Universal Health Care, a significant increase from the Sh121.1 billion it received in the 2021-22 budget.

Out of this, Sh62.3 billion will fund activities and programmes to attain UHC, up from Sh47.7 billion in the previous financial year.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani allocated Sh7 billion for Covid-19 vaccines and related expenditures and Sh4.1 billion to free maternity services. The ‘Linda mama’ programme benefits over a million mothers annually.

The Managed Equipment Service (MES) programme received Sh5.2 billion, while Sh1.8 billion has been set aside for medical cover for the elderly and severely disabled people.

HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis programmes have been allocated Sh16.2 billion, with Sh5.2 billion going to vaccines and immunisation programmes.

The CS allocated Sh18.1 billion to Kenyatta National Hospital and Sh11.7 billion to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

The Kenya Medical Training College campuses got Sh7.7 billion, while the Kenya Medical Research Institute was allocated Sh2.9 billion.

In the previous financial year, Kemri got Sh8 billion. Mr Yatani also set aside Sh1.1 billion for the construction of the Kenya National Hospital of Paediatrics and Burns Centre at KNH.

The centre will have a burns unit, children’s wing, cancer hostel and an intensive care unit (ICU). The burns unit and paediatrics wing will have a capacity of 82 beds, while the ICU will have 24 beds.

Kisii Level 5 Hospital

Another Sh1.3 billion has been set aside for the construction of a cancer centre at Kisii Level 5 Hospital.

The Treasury has also allocated Sh1.2 billion towards the procurement of family planning and reproductive health care commodities, while the blood transfusion centre received Sh619 million.

“Better health outcome depends on the availability, accessibility and capacity of health workers to deliver quality services anchored on well-equipped facilities,” said the CS.

To achieve 100 per cent insurance coverage, the government has implemented various initiatives, such as the Linda mama programme and it has also increased the number of health workers.

It has further developed a digital health platform that monitors the sector.

Boost efficiency

The government has enacted the NHIF Amendment Act, which provides for the establishment of a centralised health care management system to boost efficiency, payment of claims and data collection.

The CS amended the insurance regulation to require boda bodas and tuk-tuks to take insurance. This was advised by the high accident cases attributed to the two systems of transport.

“The number of accidents have been in a steady rise yet the owners of motorcycles do not have insurance cover to cater for treatment in case of injuries or compensation in case of death or any other damage caused by an accident involving motorcycle,” said Mr Yatani.

To cushion Kenyans from the economic burden of Covid-19, the CS has provided more incentives to the sector by exempting from VAT plant and machinery for use by manufacturers of pharmaceutical products.

He has also exempted from VAT medical oxygen supplied to registered hospitals, urine bags, adult diapers, artificial breasts, and colostomy or ileostomy bags for medical use.

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