FROM SH111.7BN

Covid pushes health budget to Sh121bn, but it's barely enough

Funding of UHC programme slashed from Sh50 billion to Sh47 billion

In Summary

• He allocated Sh14.3 billion for Covid-19 vaccines and related expenditure.

• Yatani allocated Sh8.7 billion for the Covid-19 Health Emergency Response project.

More than one million Kenyans have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
More than one million Kenyans have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Image: COURTESY

Health has received more cash compared to the current financial year, largely to fund the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The sector has received Sh121.1 billion from the Sh3.03 trillion budget.

This is an increase from Sh111.7 billion the sector received in the 2020-21 budget. 

“Out of this, Sh47.7 billion will fund activities and programmes for the attainment of the universal health coverage,” Treasury CS Ukur Yatani said on Thursday.

This is a reduction from the Sh50 billion which UHC got in the 2020-21 financial year.

Yatani said the overall increase in health was largely occasioned by Covid-19, which has necessitated more funds for vaccines and response programmes.

He allocated Sh14.3 billion for Covid-19 vaccines and related expenditures, which is not likely to be enough.

Yatani also allocated Sh8.7 billion for the Covid-19 Health Emergency Response project.

The project was started to support government’s efforts to mitigate its economic and social impacts of Covid-19.

Kenyatta National Hospital was allocated Sh15.3 billion while the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital received Sh11.4 billion. 

Kenya Medical Training Institute campuses were given Sh7.3 billion to share while the Kenya Medical Research Institute got Sh8 billion. 

Kemri's annual budget is usually about Sh7 billion, mostly coming from foreign donors. 

Meru and Kakamega counties will get Sh350 million to establish two cancer centres in those regions.

Yatani allocated Sh4.1 billion to the free maternity programme, Sh4.2 billion to the managed equipment services and Sh1.8 billion for medical cover for the elderly and disabled.

Another Sh5.8 billion will fund programmes to lower cases of malaria, TB and HIV while Sh4.9 billion will fund vaccination and regular immunisation programmes.

Yatani also supported Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital by allocating Sh450 million to its cancer centre to buy cyberknife radiotherapy equipment.

Allocation to healthcare has been rising since 2016.

In 2016-17, it received 3.7 per cent of the entire budget. The allocation remained at 3.7 per cent in 2017-18 but rose to 5.1 per cent in 2018-19. In 2019-2020, it increased to 5.5 per cent and 6.5 per cent in 2020-21.

In 2001, Kenya became a signatory to the Abuja Declaration, pledging to allocate at least 15 per cent of its annual budget to improve healthcare.

“While the country’s health budget allocation has been increasing, achievement of the 15 per cent target set by the Abuja Declaration, which is bound to accelerate Kenya’s journey towards UHC, still requires a significant amount of funds,” says Stephen Ng’ang’a, associate director of tax and regulatory services at KPMG advisory services limited.