Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) recently held its sixth Economic Forum which was focused on the state of the health sector in Kenya.

The forum was graced by Dr. Rashid A. Aman, Chief Administrative Secretary – Ministry of Health as the keynote speaker and a panel of experts drawn from the health sector. They came together to discuss the progress made thus far, to identify areas of improvement and the contributions of the private sector in enabling the provision of quality affordable universal healthcare.

Dr. Aman said as part of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) national scaler program, the government intends to roll-out the pre-payment of healthcare as a means of reducing out-of-pocket expenditure, a key impediment to the attainment of UHC.

“In this regard, financial sector experts, banks and investors play a key role in the provision of innovative financing solutions that are geared towards pre-payment for health. The government will facilitate an enabling environment through interventions that will manage the cost of healthcare including the price regulation of essential medicines and commodities which will reduce the high claim cost experienced by both NHIF and private medical insurers,” said Dr. Aman.

In his remarks, CBA’s CEO for Kenya, Jeremy Ngunze said, “Investment in health is not only desirable but also an essential priority for our societies. Health is the greatest social capital a nation can have. Without a healthy, productive citizenship, a country can’t be economically stable.”

Mr. Ngunze further said that addressing the gaps that will help the country achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goal is crucial to building a strong economic foundation, adding that this is something that the sector players and other key players should continue to work toward.

According to the government, funding to the sector has increased. In the financial year 2018/19 the national government increased its allocation to health by 56% from Ksh. 62.0 Billion (5.8% of spending) to Ksh. 97.08 Billion (6.8% of total spending) and held it at Ksh. 93.0 Billion in 2019/20 budget. NHIF recruitment has also increased substantially especially in the counties.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Universal health coverage ensures that all people use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.

CBA Economic Forum was launched in January 2018 and is held thrice a year with a specific topic each time. The forum held earlier this year focused on the Housing Sector. Other previous forums focused on Kenya’s tax structure, agriculture and the manufacturing industry.