MATERNAL MORTALITY

KATHIA: State should prioritise healthcare financially

Article 43 of the Constitution provides that Kenyans are entitled to the highest attainable standards of health

In Summary

• The recent budget reading for 2022-23 awarded the health sector its highest budget ever.

• The Kenya Health Policy 2012-30 advocates equitable provision of healthcare, which in policy objective four provides for provision of health services in an equitable manner

Year after year, we talk about maternal mortality, which has continued to be one of the biggest challenge in Kenya’s health system.

Two years ago, the government piloted the universal health coverage in four of it 47 counties.

However, the heath sector in nearly all the counties remains frustrated with significant challenges, ranging from capacity gaps, human resource deficiency, lack of critical legal and institutional infrastructure, rampant corruption to a conflict relationship with the national government. These challenges stagnate healthcare progress and even a reversal of some gains according to health indicators. 

The recent budget reading for 2022-23 awarded the health sector its highest budget ever. A total of 146.8 billion was allocated to healthcare sector out of the total Sh3.3 trillion. Out of this, Sh62.3 billion will fund activities and programmes to facilitate the attainment of UHC.

Further, Sh1.2 billion has been allocated for procurement of family planning and reproductive health commodities and Sh4.1 billion for to ensure that women have access to free maternity healthcare and reduce cases of maternal mortality.

The Kenya Health Policy 2012-30 advocates equitable provision of healthcare, which in policy objective four provides for provision of health services in an equitable manner. The aims to ensure equitable allocation of government resources to reduce disparities in health status across the country.

Kenya is a signatory to a number of international treaties, including the Abuja Declaration, which commits African states to invest 15 per cent of their national budget in health. However, the government of Kenya is yet to have a sustainable financing of the health sector. These drastic cuts in healthcare provision lead to poor health services provision, including lack of drugs and frequent strikes as well as increased mortality and morbidity rates. 

Article 43 of the Constitution provides that Kenyans are entitled to the highest attainable standards of health, which includes the right to healthcare. Further, Article 53 provides for the right of every child to basic nutrition, shelter and healthcare.

One of the inputs required to ensure health services are all inclusive and rights-based is functional facilities with competent and motivated staff. It is for this reason we condemn the fact that women continue to die during childbirth.

Recently, Diana Mwikali, a woman with disability, died in a Nairobi private hospital due to high blood pressure while giving birth through a caesarian section.

Maternal deaths are preventable and as we get into the general election in August, we must be smart to elect leaders who will prioritize health.

Sexual and reproductive health expert and a communications specialist