PharmAccess has mobilised seven Members of Parliament and stakeholders from the Ministry of Health and the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to discuss innovative health financing opportunities for scaling Universal Health Coverage (UHC) penetration at the constituency and ward levels.
PharmAccess has since 2018 provided material and technical support in advancing the UHC agenda as well as health system strengthening to the County Government of Kisumu.
Further, the organisation provided conceptual orientation, and digital technology (MTIBA) was used to enrol and undertake geo-mapping of the population.
Additionally, through a public-private partnership (PPP) involving the county government, PharmAccess, and NHIF, the Kisumu Solidarity Health Insurance Cover (MARWA) was launched in 2021.
Apparently, MARWA is a locally designed and oriented social health insurance model built on the lessons learned during the UHC pilot, leveraging transformative digital technologies.
The model has resulted in significant health and policy improvements, as evidenced by, among others, increasing the county’s health insurance penetration from 12.5 per cent to 23 per cent, however, the county’s target of 70 per cent health insurance coverage is yet to be attained.
Prior to this, PharmAccess held a strategic discussion between the MPs to explore opportunities to foster synergies in streamlining UHC financing and scaling uptake at the constituency and ward levels.
These illustrative topics for deliberation include: enabling a common understanding of the primary care network (PCN) operations: structure, operations, and sustainability, including its financing; scaling UHC through health insurance as a form of financial protection; and exploring the resource mobilisation space for health insurance in Kisumu County and the role of MPs.
Speaking during the event in Nairobi, the MP of Ikolomani constituency, Bernard Shinali, simulated how a similar model to increase health insurance worked for the constituents.
In support of this, Seme MP Dr. James Nyikal said, “I would like to appreciate PharmAccess for their steadfast commitment towards strengthening Kenya’s healthcare system. The organisation has proven its expertise through its support for Kisumu County to extend health insurance to all residents.”
Meanwhile, PharmAccess Kenya Country Director Dr. Wasunna Owino stated that digital technology can mobilise additional financing for health, scale health coverage to those who have been excluded from the health system, and improve healthcare delivery and outcomes.
“Together with Kisumu County MPs, we are discussing opportunities to leverage such existing initiatives and stimulate UHC investments,” said Owino.
By Okal Kevin and Vena Onyango