Let’s Use August 9th Election To Fix Kenya’s Healthcare Once And For All

Last Sun­day, Shelly-Ann Fras­er-Pryce, Jamaican female sprint­er made his­to­ry when she won a record fifth 100m world title. Upon win­ning, she uttered words that should jolt Kenya’s health sec­tor into action, “I can’t even imag­ine the amount of times I’ve had set­backs and I’ve bounced back and I’m here again.”

Kenya’s health sec­tor should emu­late the Jamaican sprint queen’s resilience and embark on an unstop­pable health excel­lence journey.

We are at a major renew­al phase. The loom­ing elec­tions will ush­er in new lead­er­ship that can and must take Kenya’s health­care to the next lev­el. In addi­tion, we are approach­ing our tenth-year anniver­sary of devolved gov­ern­ment. Health is the constitution’s largest devolved func­tion. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, health deliv­ery in the Coun­ties has been so dys­func­tion­al that many have ques­tioned the wis­dom of devolv­ing it in the first place. Of course, much more funds must equal­ly be devolved to fol­low such humon­gous func­tions. How­ev­er, the prob­lem may be with Coun­ty office hold­ers and not just the devo­lu­tion of the func­tion or req­ui­site funds.

Since the 2013 advent of devolved Gov­ern­ment, health work­ers from dif­fer­ent Coun­ties have gone on strike each year due to salary issues. As such, finances are the crux of these problems.

In 2021 Jan­u­ary, Wyclife Oparanya, the then Coun­cil of Gov­er­nors Chair­man said that Coun­ties didn’t have finan­cial mus­cle to pay health work­ers more mon­ey. How­ev­er, ten years is too long a time to keep hav­ing a stand­off between the two lev­els of Gov­ern­ment espe­cial­ly when some Gov­er­nors stand accused of mis­man­ag­ing health funds. Last year, the Audi­tor-Gen­er­al Nan­cy Gath­un­gu revealed that Coun­ty Gov­ern­ments had mis­man­aged Covid-19 funds.

There have also been cas­es of delayed Coun­ty Gov­ern­ment pay­ments to the Kenya Med­ical Sup­plies Agency (KEMSA). In the case of Marsabit Coun­ty, these delays totaled Sh73 mil­lion and result­ed in KEMSA sus­pend­ing dis­burse­ment of drugs and oth­er med­ical sup­plies to the County’s 118 pub­lic health facil­i­ties. While KEMSA has had its fair of alle­ga­tions, let the truth be told that delay in plac­ing drug orders by Coun­ty Gov­ern­ment is also a big issue that is cost­ing lives.

Inno­cent Kenyans are silent­ly suf­fer­ing as a result of blame games and form of inef­fi­cien­cies involv­ing health­care issues that must be spot­light­ed and pun­ished decisively.

More con­crete­ly it’s time for us to accel­er­ate local man­u­fac­ture of drugs so that we can dras­ti­cal­ly enhance their avail­abil­i­ty and afford­abil­i­ty. The Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Soci­ety of Kenya (PSK) recent­ly called on the Gov­ern­ment to pro­mote local pro­duc­tion of active ingre­di­ents that can be used to man­u­fac­ture drugs in the coun­try. PSK revealed that 90 per cent of Kenya’s pre­scrip­tions can be filled by local­ly pro­duced drugs. I chal­lenge the next admin­is­tra­tion to pri­or­i­tize this local pro­duc­tion of drugs. That would con­sti­tute a mas­sive leap for­ward in our jour­ney towards Uni­ver­sal Health Cov­er­age (UHC).

Last year in Sep­tem­ber, I wrote an open let­ter to the Min­is­ter for Health (a must read) and pro­posed sev­er­al path­ways towards world-class health­care in Kenya.

Today, a resound­ing mes­sage goes out to Kenyans that ulti­mate­ly, we must use our vote to fix health­care once and for all. Time is up for shenani­gans. There should be zero tol­er­ance for blame games and fin­ger pointing.

In the year 2000, Kenya’s life expectan­cy stood at 51 years. Today, it is 66 years. Although this is an improve­ment and based on var­i­ous fac­tors, USA’s life expectan­cy is 78 while Mauritius’s is 74. Evi­dent­ly, Kenyans are dying ear­li­er. A time has come for us to bounce back and so that Kenyans can live longer, health­i­er lives. Think green and act green!


About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

Why August 9th is a Real Date With Our Destiny

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