By Asma’u Ahmad
The United Nations on Thursday urged Kenya to reduce its reliance on foreign funding for the funding of the country’s health sector.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Advisor on Funding and Financing in Nairobi, Michael Corlin, said about one third of all health expenditure in that country was currently funded by international donors.
The day is celebrated annually to commemorate the UN resolution calling for countries to provide affordable, quality health care to every person worldwide.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Universal Health Coverage, Corlin said Kenya may lose approximately one billion U.S. dollars in health sector funding in the years ahead, as financiers moved to low income countries.
Most of the funding to be lost targeted essential healthcare services such as nutritional supplies, immunisation, maternal and child health.
The UNICEF official noted that the loss of funds would further complicate Kenya’s efforts to achieve universal health care. He added that Kenya needs to devote an additional 1.4 billion dollars to the healthcare sector in order to achieve the level of health spending of other low middle income nations in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Corlin noted that Kenya needs to begin discussions with stakeholders on how to replace the health sector funding before it is withdrawn.
He said that some of the possible sources of funds to enhance the domestic health budget include additional taxation measures, establishment of a health trust fund or reallocation of other government funds to the health sector.