Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe says the government is committed to expanding health services with an emphasis on quality as well as reduction of healthcare costs.
Speaking in Malindi while inaugurating board of directors of the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, National Health Insurance Fund and the Kenya Health Professions Oversight Authority, the health CS said the government through the Ministry of Health had prioritised nurturing and protecting the well-being of individuals, families and communities.
“Health is a fundamental right and an enabler of socio-economic development. The National Government under the leadership of His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta has identified Universal Health Coverage as a key priority for the country in line with the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the Sustainable Development Goals and my ministry is fully-committed to deliver these noble aspirations of our people,” said CS Kagwe.
He challenged the newly inaugurated boards to embrace technology and strive to realise the highest standards in line with global best practices.
“What we are talking about here is not just technical but conceptual skills. The standards we have must cover nonclinical issues which make a difference,” observed Kagwe.
According to Kagwe, health remains a critical driver of the economy with the government ready to improve health outcomes based on the essential values of human rights, equality, freedom, democracy, social justice and the rule of law.
He said the ministry is ready to offer support to ensure the three inaugurated boards actualize their respective mandates as the country prepares for assessment by the World Health Organisation towards certification to maturity level 3.
The recent publication of six statutory instruments has set the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, which was among those inaugurated on Friday, closer to fulfilling the key requirements for the certification.
The Pharmacy and Poisons Act, Chapter 244 of the Laws of Kenya, gives the Pharmacy and Poisons Board a heavy responsibility to regulate the practice of pharmacy and the manufacture and trade of drugs and poisons. The board will be chaired by Dr Rodgers Atebe with Dr Fred Siyoi as the CEO. Muleli Mutuku, Dr Paul Magutu Njaria, Dorcas Wanjiru Ngechu, Dr John Munguti Kisengi, Miriam Wairimu Ndirangu, Stephens Ogutu Oyaya and Dr Diana Marion are the members.
While inaugurating the Kenya Health Professions Oversight Authority, the Health CS said the authority was expected to institutionalise standards through the establishment of parameters that would discourage their individualisation.
Members of the Kenya Health Professions Oversight Authority include Dr Amit N Thakker, who is the board’s chairperson, Manaseh Bocha, Eunice Njeri Tole, Meboh Abuor, Irina Moraa Ogamba, Elyas Sheikh Abdinoor and Mariam Adam. Dr Jackson Kioko is the CEO.
It will among others ensure provision of ethical and quality healthcare services to the public, ensure proper structures in healthcare delivery are in place, safeguard processes that ensure good quality as well as assessing patient outcomes in ways that enhance improvement.
The health CS also inaugurated the NHIF board which is key in government efforts towards realising Universal Health Coverage through pooling risks and funds to offer financial protection to its beneficiaries.
Lewis Nguyai will chair the new NHIF board. Other members are Dr Isabella Maina, Michael Kahiti, Dr Andrew W Onyino, Albert Obed Njeru, Ben Wakhungu, Dr Silpah Owich and Dominic Ndegwa. Dr Peter Kamunyo is the fund’s CEO and secretary to the Board.