By Treezer Michelle Atieno
In a momentous leap towards revolutionizing Kenya’s healthcare landscape, the Government has taken a bold step by forming the National Health Procurement Board. This dynamic board has been tasked with the significant responsibility of overseeing the bulk procurement of essential health products and cutting-edge technologies.
At the forefront of this groundbreaking initiative is Mary Muthoni, the Principal Secretary of the State Department for Public Health and Professional Standards. She asserts that this strategic move is designed to not only curtail the rising costs of healthcare products but also to harness the advantages of economies of scale.
Muthoni, speaking passionately about the initiative, stated, “The National Health Procurement Board will play a pivotal role in making healthcare more affordable for all Kenyan citizens. By purchasing health products in bulk, we aim to achieve significant cost reductions.”
During a recent training session for Community Health Promoters (CHPs) held in Naivasha, Ms. Muthoni expounded on the far-reaching implications of this initiative. She underscored that the board’s establishment would usher in a new era marked by a fully integrated and interoperable health information ecosystem. This digital transformation aims to revolutionize healthcare services, combat fraud, enhance efficiency, and promote transparency while facilitating seamless sharing of health data among providers.
Ms. Muthoni articulated, “Our vision is to create a healthcare system that is patient-centric, responsive, and transparent. The National Health Procurement Board will be a cornerstone in achieving this.”
The announcement of this transformative initiative took place during a pivotal training of trainers (ToTs) event, which drew CHPs from all 47 counties. Their collective mission is to fortify primary healthcare networks throughout the nation. Under this far-reaching initiative, the Government plans to engage an impressive 100,000 Community Health Promoters to oversee the Smart Primary Care Network (PCN).
Ms. Muthoni revealed that the significance of this endeavor would be highlighted by President William Ruto during this year’s Mashujaa Day celebrations on October 20th in Kericho County. The overarching theme, “Universal Health Care,” underscores the Government’s unwavering commitment to providing accessible and high-quality healthcare to every Kenyan citizen.
Ms. Muthoni emphasized the critical role of CHPs in this endeavor, stating, “These dedicated healthcare workers will be the linchpin of our preventive healthcare strategy. They will work tirelessly to educate communities on the importance of prevention over cure.”
The shift towards prioritizing preventive healthcare is a strategic move aimed at alleviating the disease burden in the country. By focusing on prevention, Kenya aims to not only improve the health of its citizens but also reduce the financial strain caused by costly treatments.
To execute this ambitious plan, the Government plans to establish a total of 315 primary healthcare networks. These networks will provide care at the optimal level while ensuring inclusivity, leaving no one behind. The integration of care across different levels of the healthcare system promises to enhance efficiency, facilitate an efficient emergency referral system, and optimize the allocation and sharing of resources. This, in turn, will lead to better data flow for informed decision-making.
Ms. Muthoni further explained, “Our approach is shifting from predominantly curative to ‘preventive and promotive’ healthcare. This transition is vital to reduce the disease burden in Kenya and enhance the overall quality of life for our citizens.”
Additionally, Ms. Muthoni acknowledged that the government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) had identified critical gaps in the healthcare system. These gaps encompass inadequate human resources for health, insufficient health financing to ensure universal healthcare, and an ineffective supply chain for commodity security.
The establishment of the National Health Procurement Board and the ambitious plans to empower Community Health Promoters herald a new era in Kenya’s healthcare landscape. The Government’s resolute commitment to preventive healthcare, improved efficiency, and data-driven decision-making heralds a brighter and healthier future for all Kenyan citizens. As the nation eagerly anticipates President William Ruto’s official launch of the Smart Primary Care Network on Mashujaa Day, the theme of “Universal Health Care” takes on newfound significance, symbolizing a path to enhanced healthcare accessibility and affordability for every citizen.