Health & Fitness

Mwai Kibaki’s legacy in healthcare

kibaki

The late President Mwai Kibaki (right) is shown the pneumococcal Vaccine by then minister for public health Beth Mugo during the launch at the KICC on February 14, 2011. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Positioning healthcare as a basic human right has driven actions and innovations around achieving universal healthcare coverage in Kenya.
  • The focus herein is to provide high-quality healthcare for Kenyans that is accessible and that does not result in excessive out-of-pocket expenditure for citizens.
  • Devolving healthcare has accorded counties an opportunity to prioritise health policies and spending around needs relevant to them.

Kenya is mourning former president Mwai Emilio Kibaki. A lot of notable accolades have been attributed to the late statesman for his turning around of the Kenyan economy. Built upon his vision, Kenya is rapidly taking up its position as an African economic hub.

In the ambits of healthcare, a lot of the transformation that has occurred is attributed to the promulgation of the new Constitution in 2010 under the leadership of President Kibaki. In this Constitution, key wins for the healthcare sector were twofold.

First was the declaration of emergency care and the highest attainable healthcare standards as basic human rights. The second was the declaration of healthcare as a devolved function of government.

Positioning healthcare as a basic human right has driven actions and innovations around achieving universal healthcare coverage in Kenya. The focus herein is to provide high-quality healthcare for Kenyans that is accessible and that does not result in excessive out-of-pocket expenditure for citizens.

Devolving healthcare has accorded counties an opportunity to prioritise health policies and spending around needs relevant to them. Hitherto, we utilised a blanket approach in developing health policies and priorities without a granular look into different disease burdens for the different counties.

The late statesman is a true epitome of this call for action. In his characteristic wittiness, he demonstrated a firm grasp of Kenya’s socio-economic challenges and steered it into a solid foundation for the future.

I am immensely proud to share a Mang’u High School alumni heritage with the late head of state which he attended in the 1940s.

The school’s motto is “Jishinde Ushinde”; a Swahili phrase that calls upon its students to conquer themselves in order to conquer the different challenges of life.

We have a long way to go in achieving the tenets of universal health coverage. But may we always remember the solid foundation that was laid by the late president.