KENYA: Kenya is committed to strengthening health care to meet the needs of the citizens as outlined in the big four agenda.
During the roundtable meeting organized by Civil Societies, since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Kenya in March 2020, Primary Health Care (PHC) services were said to have been greatly affected.
One of the notable services affected was the access to emergency and essential health services including routine immunization of children which was greatly reduced.
Other services include outpatient services for the general population, antenatal care of pregnant women, Post Natal care for mothers among other services.
Speaking during the meeting, Dr Agatha Olango from the Ministry of Health affirmed that indeed Primary healthcare has been on the receiving end of sectors affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
”Throughout 2020, most services were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including utilization of general outpatient services for both adults and children, HIV as well as cancer screening services.’’
How PHC Impacts Lives
PHC is the most inclusive, equitable, co-effective approach to enhance people’s physical and mental health and social well-being.
Evidence of the wide-ranging impact of investment in PHC continues to grow around the world, particularly in times of crisis such as the COVID-19 menace.
Across the world, investments in primary healthcare improve equity and access, health care performance, accountability of health systems and health outcomes.
According to Pauline Irungu, Advocacy and Country Lead, Kenya experienced disruptions to reproductive, newborn, maternal, child and adolescents health and nutrition services during the COVID-19, with lockdown movement restrictions impacting service availability.
Action from the Ministry
The Ministry of Health in Kenya has developed guidance on the continuity of essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It guides immediate actions that should be considered for the health system to recognize and maintain access to essential healthcare services for all.
”The Ministry of Health rapidly developed policies to maintain essential health services during COVID-19, emphasizing the importance of continuity of care,” Irungu added.
What Needs to be done
For Kenya to come to the full realization of Universal Health Care(UHC), full implementation of the Kenya Primary Health Care Strategic Framework has to be achieved.
These include inclusivity in the identification of priorities in PHC, expanding health insurance coverage in line with PHC services at all levels and establishing innovative financial mechanisms by securing sustainable domestic financing for PHC.