Social accountability for health is still a relatively new practice in Kenya and indeed across the African continent.
Kenya continues to make strides towards universal health coverage (UHC) as the nation prepares to transition from the UHC pilot programme into a national rollout of UHC.
In readiness for the national rollout, Kenya’s Health NGOs Network – HENNET and Amref Health Africa have launched the Social Accountability Platform for Health. The platform will be led by HENNET to map and coordinate social accountability activities such as collecting and disseminating resources and tools on social accountability, holding the government accountable, as well as developing and implementing the platform’s roadmap. The platform will go a long way to ensure that civil society organisations (CSOs) are united and coordinated in the implementation of UHC at local and national levels and at the same time hold the government accountable to its promises as relates to UHC.
With reference to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s promise to fully rollout UHC by June 2020, efforts are in motion to ensure value for money is realized and good health achieved for many more Kenyans. The notion of social accountability is built on the premise of citizens ensuring all stakeholders stay vigilant to stem wastage of limited health resources.
Speaking at the launch, Amref Health Africa in Kenya’s Director of Health Systems Strengthening Dr Elizabeth Wala called for more engagement of the youth on the road to UHC citing limited youth engagement during the UHC pilot.
“The youth have time and time again said ‘there is nothing for us without us.’ As we approach #UHCDay there is need to raise awareness for the inclusion of Youth Friendly services under UHC” she said.
Amref Health Africa is contributing to the realisation of UHC through its 2018-2022 strategy, placing advocacy and social accountability as key interventions to deliver on these goals. Efforts to achieve UHC in Kenya are quite advanced, with lots of potential for success backed by political commitment at the highest level through President Uhuru Kenyatta’s BIG 4 Agenda. However, this momentum towards achieving UHC will only be sustained if the commitments made by leaders are turned into action.
Amref Health Africa believes that the strong and widespread practice of social accountability is the key to achieving results. The primary principles of social accountability include transparency, accountability, and participation. Using social accountability, citizens and providers are educated about their rights to health, mechanisms are employed for their voices to be heard, and tools are utilised to hold duty-bearers accountable for policy implementation and results.
As a commitment to contributing toward achieving UHC in Kenya, Amref has mobilised its partners to enhance the voices of citizens to improve government and health care policies, resources, and practices. Under the leadership of HENNET, where Amref is a member, the Social Accountability for Health Network (#SAc4Health) is anticipated to be a game-changer in promoting equitable, quality and affordable health for all.