Kenyan healthcare system ranks Africa’s second best


President William Ruto shares a light moment with a patient, Caroline Kariuki during the official opening of the AAR Hospital along Kiambu Road in Nairobi on February 15, 2023. PHOTO | PCS

The Kenyan healthcare system has been ranked second best in Africa on readiness to offer quality medical services in terms of effective equipment for modern diagnosis and treatment as well as skilled and competent medical staff, a new global survey shows.

The report by Numbeo-2023, a global research organisation that tracks the quality of healthcare systems worldwide, shows Kenya recorded an overall healthcare index score of 61.8, placing it behind South Africa, which topped with a score index of 63.7.

Globally, Kenya was ranked position 51.

Tunisia emerged third with a score index of 57.1 percent having good equipment to handle modern diagnosis and treatment as well as being swift in filling out medical reports.

It toppled other large African countries such as Algeria and Nigeria which scored a healthcare index of 53.6 and 48.5 respectively.

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This comes at a time Kenya’s health sector is still facing hurdles in the race towards universal health coverage due to factors such as slow recruitment of healthcare workers and limited coverage by the National Health Insurance Fund, which is further undermining service delivery in hospitals.

Kenya launched the Universal Health Coverage pilot programme in 2018 in Nyeri, Kisumu, Machakos, and Isiolo counties.

These counties were selected as pilot sites based on the prevalence of unique health needs among their populations.

Nyeri was selected due to the high burden of non-communicable diseases, Kisumu due to the high prevalence of infectious diseases like malaria, Machakos due to injuries associated with road traffic accidents and Isiolo due to the concerning cases of maternal mortalities.

“Kenya performed higher in skills and competency of medical staff, accuracy and completeness in filling out reports, equipment for modern diagnosis and treatment, convenient location to the patient, friendliness and courtesy of the staff with a moderate score in cost of treatment and response to attend to waiting patients,” indicated the survey.

The survey however shows an improvement in the quality healthcare system from the mid-2020 report when Kenya posted a performance index of 55.6, a decline attributed to the breakdown of the healthcare system due to overstretching as a result of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fitch and World Bank have ranked Kenya as one of the fastest growing and promising markets for medical equipment in the sub-Saharan Africa region.

The availability of medical equipment is a key component of effective service delivery required for maintaining population health.

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Good health care is linked to an increase in the life expectancy of a country coming from regular checkups and screenings which can help identify health problems early when they are easier to treat.

Health care also helps to protect the community. Vaccines, for instance, help to protect individuals from illnesses and prevent them from spreading to others.

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