Kenya: Church Seeks Role in Devolved Healthcare

Kenya: Church Seeks Role in Devolved Healthcare

(THE STAR) BY MAXWELL MASAVA – Faith-based healthcare providers are seeking a bigger role under the devolved system of government to help increase access to reliable, quality and affordable medical services. Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies, a leading supplier of medicines and medical supplies in the region, says church-led organisations should collaborate with county governments to boost provision of healthcare services.

“We should move fast to ensure we are not left out as other health stakeholders jostle for their share of the county government health resources,” MEDS managing director Paschal Manyuru said at the annual MEDS Day held in Nairobi.

The occasion brought together representatives from more than 200 health facilities drawn from the faith-based, private and public sectors, members of the Transition Authority, Christian Health Association of Kenya and Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops. He said faith-based health organisations under the Chak serve more than 40 per cent of the population in Kenya.

Manyuru said counties currently have limited resources and need support in providing essential health services. He said successful devolution of health services would be driven by Public-Private Partnerships and the involvement of other key players including the national and county governments.

MEDS, which recently signed a strategic partnership with the 47 counties, provides medicines, medical supplies and quality assurance services to more than 1,800 health facilities in Kenya. “The role of faith-based organisations in improving healthcare services cannot be ignored, especially in rural and difficult-to-reach areas,” Manyuru said.

“The uneven distribution of health facilities especially in rural areas has widened disparities in affordability and accessibility of medical care and faith-based health facilities making a significant contribution in bridging that gap.” He said a devolved government presents a great opportunity for health facilities to build an effective healthcare system.

Manyuru said MEDS’ efficient supply chain management, stringent quality assurance systems and wide geographical reach will ensure all county health facilities receive reliable, quality and affordable services. Chak general secretary Dr Samuel Mwenda said health facilities should participate in county health strategic planning to ensure their ideas are adopted.

“Faith-based health facilities need to reflect on devolution implications and strategise on the best engagement approach,” he said. “This is an opportunity to maintain a strategic leadership role of church health services in the new devolved health system.”

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