President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday said the government is working on consolidating Kenya’s position as a regional healthcare hub.
The Head of State noted that Kenya already attracts patients from several countries in the region including Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, D. R. Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Nigeria.
“Kenya’s position as a regional resource for high quality healthcare is a huge advantage that needs to be leveraged further,” said the President.
Uhuru spoke when he officially opened the first Kenya Healthcare Convention at the Sarit Center in Nairobi County.
The President said Kenya’s healthcare industry has a longstanding tradition of close cooperation between the public and the private sector.
He said the close cooperation between the two sectors has enabled the country to extend crucial services to hard to reach regions of the country.
Uhuru said his administration has prioritised health and is working to make the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) a success.
The President instructed Health CS Mutahi Kagwe to ensure that UHC is rolled out to the rest of the country following the program’s success in the four pilot counties.
The Head of State said despite the fact that Kenya leads the region in the provision of quality health services, it still has several aspects that need improvement.
He said the over 10,000 Kenyans who travel abroad to seek specialized medical services cost the economy in excess of Shs 10 billion every year.
Further, the President noted that Africa spends an average of Sh380 billion on specialized medical treatment abroad, an amount he said Kenya needs to tap.
Kenyatta challenged healthcare stakeholders to converge towards the improvement of the quality of healthcare and commended county governments for the efforts they have made to improve access to quality healthcare.
“The sustained commitment of resources towards health, averaging 30% of county budgets, has seen increased recruitment of health workers and availability of essential medicines and other medical commodities,” the President said.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said Kenya is positioning itself as a destination for health tourism and challenged health sector players to ensure they serve affordable and quality healthcare.
CS Kagwe called on health professionals to observe high standards of integrity and ensure that Kenyans get value for money whenever they seek medical services.
Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti said counties are eager to continue working closely with the national government in improving healthcare.
Kuti, who is also the chairman of the council of governors committee on health, said healthcare should be treated as a common objective and should never be ground for competition or division between the two levels of government.
Amit Thakker, who spoke on behalf of Kenya Healthcare Federation, said there’s no justification for any Kenyan hospital or doctor to increase prices due to the global outbreak of Coronavirus.
He said it will be disrespectful to Kenyans if any medical institution increases costs due to the outbreak of the viral disease that has affected other parts of the world.