The atmosphere was charged with excitement and anticipation as stakeholders and residents gathered at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County for a momentous occasion—the launch of the Kakamega County Health Services Fund (KCHSF). This significant initiative aims to ensure that funds generated from health facilities are utilized directly at the source, revolutionizing the local healthcare system and improving access to quality health services for all residents.
Kakamega County stands at the forefront of progress, being among the first few counties in Kenya to implement the Health Services Act. This Act enables the County Health Department to ring-fence its resources, providing a dedicated allocation for improved service delivery. The County recognizes the importance of effective healthcare provision and is committed to channeling resources towards this goal.
The introduction of autonomy in healthcare facilities is set to be a game-changer for Kakamega County. This shift promises to empower healthcare providers, allowing them greater control over their operations and decision-making processes. With this newfound autonomy, providers can enhance the quality of care provided to the residents, ensuring that their healthcare needs are met efficiently and effectively.
The objectives of the Kakamega County Health Services Fund are comprehensive, targeting various aspects of healthcare delivery and infrastructure improvement. The funds will be allocated to:
- Improve the quality of patient care, ensuring that residents receive the highest standard of medical treatment and attention.
- Strengthen preventive and promotive healthcare, emphasizing the importance of disease prevention and community health education.
- Enhance infrastructure within existing health facilities, creating a conducive environment for both patients and healthcare professionals.
- Maintain, improve, and renovate healthcare facilities to meet the evolving needs of the community.
- Supplement the purchase of health products, medical equipment, and technologies, equipping healthcare facilities with the necessary tools to deliver quality care.
- Allocate funds for any other expenditures that fall within the approved budget, catering to emerging needs and unforeseen circumstances.
The healthcare sector within Kakamega County has faced numerous challenges since the advent of devolution in Kenya. One of the primary issues has been the delayed disbursement of funds to health facilities, hindering effective service delivery. This delay has resulted in the unavailability of essential drugs and commodities, leading to interrupted services and a decline in the accessibility of quality healthcare. Recognizing the urgency of addressing these challenges, Kakamega County has taken the proactive step of ring-fencing its health services funds.
Aligned with the vision of Universal Health Coverage, the County Government of Kakamega, through the County Assembly, enacted the County Health Services Fund Act. Starting from the 1st of July 2023, health facilities will have the autonomy to raise revenue, retain collections, and utilize the generated funds to improve their services. To kickstart the operationalization of the fund, the County has allocated a substantial sum of Ksh.59,217,771 to be disbursed to health facilities.
During the launch event, Bismack Wasta, the Procurement Expert representing Health Procurement Africa, expressed their satisfaction in contributing to the success of the occasion. Wasta emphasized the organization's commitment to working closely with the county in improving procurement standard operating procedures, ensuring efficiency, and promoting transparency.
The launch ceremony was graced by esteemed guests, including Governor FCPA Fernandes Barasa, the county's first lady, Prof. Janet Kassily Barasa, Dr. Patrick Amoth, Acting Director General for Health, and Mr. Harry Kimtai, the Permanent Secretary of Medical Services. Their presence showcased the government's unwavering support and commitment to advancing healthcare in Kakamega County.
Mr. Harry Kimtai, the Permanent Secretary of Medical Services, addressed a pressing concern regarding the availability of essential medicines in health facilities. He highlighted the government's significant steps in implementing crucial reforms within the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA). These reforms aim to improve the procurement and distribution system of medicines, ensuring accessible and reliable pharmaceutical supplies for effective healthcare delivery.
Governor FCPA Fernandes Barasa expressed his optimism about the introduction of autonomy in healthcare facilities, acknowledging its potential to revolutionize the local healthcare system. This transformation will empower healthcare providers to deliver high-quality care, resulting in improved health outcomes for the residents of Kakamega County.
The launch of the Kakamega County Health Services Fund marks a new era in healthcare delivery for the region. By channeling funds directly to the source and implementing necessary reforms, the county is taking significant strides towards a responsive, efficient, and sustainable healthcare system. With the commitment of the government and collaboration with organizations like Health Procurement Africa, Think Well Global, InSupply Health among others, the future of healthcare in Kakamega County looks promising, ensuring that every resident receives the quality care they deserve.