Amref Health Africa in Kenya on 21st March 2022, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Council of Governors (COG) towards strengthening systems for primary health care and attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Under the agreement, both parties will undertake joint activities focusing on two priority areas – Ring-fencing health funds through facility improvement fund (FIF); and Strengthening community health workforce through domestic funding and establishment of a sustained framework for resource mobilization and allocation. This partnership will include the implementation of activities worth USD 2,235,000 over the period of 4 years.
Speaking during the event, H.E. Hon. Martin Wambora, EGH – Chair Council of Governors and Governor, Embu County reiterated that the first priority of the partnership is to ensure sustainable health financing at the facility level. He said “As county governments, we continuously ask ourselves the best way of ensuring all Kenyans have access to health services when they need them and at a cost, they can afford. As you know, the Council of Governors has been at the forefront of the NHIF discussions.”
Although the enhancement of domestic resource mobilization and efficiency in resource use remains central to government efforts to obtain UHC, there is a lack of updated operational and governance guidelines to effectively manage the utilisation of user fees in hospitals, health centres and dispensaries. In addition, the existing guidelines are not well aligned with the present macro-economic realities and there is low adherence to the public financial management Act (PFMA) that guides revenue collection and use.
In his remarks, H.E. Hon.Wambora expressed his delight in the partnership saying “ This partnership will support counties to strengthen Facility Improvement Funds (FIF) through facilitating the completion of the FIF model law and guidelines, supporting the validation and dissemination to counties and conducting advocacy activities to ensure the operationalization of this model law and guidelines”.
The policy will be implemented starting with 15 counties that will be identified based on evidenced commitments to ringfence FIF.
The agreement’s second priority area is strengthening community health services through the strengthening of the Community Health Workforce across counties; testing new and innovative community health models like the Community Health Services Bureaus; supporting the rollout of County and national level Community Health Policy and legislation, and Strengthening Social Accountability in Community Health Services.
During the meeting, H.E. Hon Martin Wambora lauded the efforts of the Council of Governor’s secretariat and Amref to ensure the fruition of the agreement which was coming at a rife time when the country is fast making investments to achieve UHC.
For us to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a country we must mobilise adequate resources, increase investments in Primary Health Care, and reform key institutions such as the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to align them to the UHC agenda. When facilities have autonomy over the resources they generate, they can increase investments in health care, while also ensuring that spending is efficient and targeted for impact,” said Amref Health Africa in Kenya Country Director Dr Meshack Ndirangu.
Author: Edna Mossiara, communications Officer, Amref Health Africa in Kenya