On the 12th December 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to be a national priority in Kenya, as part of his ‘Big Four Agenda’ for national sustainable development. Under this initiative, the Government of Kenya has committed to make strategic investments in health to ensure that all residents of Kenya can access the essential health services they require by 2022.
Kenya’s 2010 constitution provides an overarching legal framework for this rights-based approach to health and from this foundation successive national health strategies have focused investment on provision of services across five levels of the health system and trying to ensure geographical proximity to services for patients nationally. In 2013 user fees were abolished at primary health care facility level to encourage uptake of services but challenges remain.
Four counties were selected to run UHC on piloting basis. These counties are Kisumu, Machakos, Nyeri and Isiolo, all of which were selected because collectively they have a high prevalence of communicable and non-communicable diseases, high population density, high maternal mortality, and high incidence of road traffic injuries.
In Nyeri, UHC program kicked on very well with county residents enrolling in large numbers. From the number of complains both on the ground and from the social media platforms, Universal Health Care seems to have lost meaning. A lot seems to have gone to the drain from the original idea of a Universal Health Care (UHC).