M a r k e t N e w s

Kenya set to benefit from Sh1.5 trillion health kitty

Posted on : Monday, 29th August 2016

 Kenyans will be among beneficiaries of a fund to make healthcare accessible and affordable. The World Bank, in conjunction with Global Fund, announced a Sh1.5 trillion kitty towards universal health coverage (UHC) in Africa. The money will be spent on the fight against malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS for the next three to five years.

 
This is a milestone for millions of poor Africans who have struggled to get medications for these preventable diseases. Although the country has made some headway in the fight against malaria over the last five years, it remains one of the leading causes of death. In 2015, 20,691 Kenyans died of the disease down from 26,652 recorded in 2011, according to official figures. In the same year, about 11,131 Kenyans succumbed to HIV and AIDS while another 10,183 died from tuberculosis as many struggled to access quality medication. The continued funding of the three diseases has however come under sharp scrutiny from critics who argue that the threat is moving towards lifestyle diseases. Indeed, according to Economic Survey 2016, while deaths from malaria, TB and AIDS were on the decline, deaths from cancer and heart diseases have been on the rise. Cancer is now the third highest killer disease after pneumonia (22,473), and malaria (20,691). Some 15,714 Kenyans died from cancer in 2015. The announcement to roll out UHC was made as the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) Summit being held in Nairobi got underway. World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim lauded the initiative noting that investment in universal healthcare coverage (UHC) pays off at a rate of as high as 10 to 1. “Better health and survival rates — particularly for mothers and children — are linked to economic growth. The evidence is overwhelming: The Lancet Commission on Investing in Health found that survival gains contribute disproportionately to economic growth in Africa,” said Kim.
 
The project’s priority will be to reduce the death of women and children in Africa, according to Kim. To this end, the donors will scale-up use of bed nets to protect people from malaria, use drones to deliver life-saving medical supplies to remote villages, and the deploy thousands of new community health workers across Africa. Although the evidence is clear that investing in health pays dividends for countries, challenges remain in the delivery and financing of health care.
 
“In 2014, African countries spent about $126 billion (Sh12.7 trillion) of domestic funding for health, and WHO estimates that an additional $65 to $115 billion in domestic funding can be mobilised annually over the next ten years,” said Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organisation. “WHO is working with countries in Africa to generate those funds and help them shape the policies that will put them to best use,” she added.
 

Source : www.standardmedia.co.ke
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