There is limited documentation on social participation for UHC in Kenya even though the country launched pilot projects in four counties in 2018 (Nyeri, Isiolo, Machakos and Kisumu). This project will assess the engagement of the public including civil societies and local communities in the UHC agenda. It will also document experiences in implementing models of social participation in health, including in NHIF reforms, in collaboration with local communities as well as CSOs, networks and campaigns, and draw lessons to advance the UHC 2030 agenda.
The Constitution of Kenya guarantees all citizens the right to quality healthcare. Universal Health Coverage (UHC) aims at ensuring that all Kenyans access and receive essential quality health services without suffering financial hardship. These services include promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative healthcare. Progressing towards attaining UHC is crucial to addressing the high burden of communicable conditions, a rising burden of non-communicable diseases, and cushion the health system from emerging and re-emerging disease outbreaks and changing demo graphic patterns. Out-of-pocket (OOP) payments for health services remain a major financial barrier to accessing health services in
Kenya and expose households to catastrophic health expenditures.
The Kenya UHC Policy 2020 -2030 aims to progress towards ensuring that the whole population has access to a comprehensive package of quality health services, while expanding protection from financial catastrophes. It was developed under the stewardship of the National Government over a period of one year through evidence-based assessments and extensive consultation with key stakeholders. These stakeholders included relevant government ministries, departments, and agencies; county governments; multilateral and bilateral development partners; and faith-based, private sector, civil society and implementing partners.
To enhance access to healthcare as a step towards UHC, the Government has identified and settled on NHIF as the official vehicle for successful implementation (NHIF, 2015). In this regard, there has been urgent need to reform NHIF to expand its benefits and coverage to other members of the society as well as enhance efficiency and accountability. This project will therefore review the reforms made within the NHIF as anticipated under the UHC. It is notable that the current Government in its manifesto (2022-2027) promised an increase in budgetary allocation to the country’s health sector from four (4) percent to 15 percent, as per the African Union’s 2001 Abuja Declaration. In addition, the Government committed to
“A universal seamless health insurance system comprising a mandatory national insurance and private insurance as complementary covers, with NHIF as the primary and private firms as the secondary cover.” Further, it committed to establish a national fund for chronic and catastrophic illnesses for costs not covered by insurance such as cancer, diabetes, strokes, accident rehabilitation, and pandemics. This would be funded by a combination of insurance levy and the Government. Other areas of commitment included strengthening Afya Bora Mashinani as a primary healthcare-based approach (https://www.google.com/manifesto).