The Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily K. Kariuki has appointed a 16-member advisory panel to design a system of guidelines that will enable Kenyans to enjoy a Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The team will be led by Professor Gilbert Kokwaro who is currently the Director of Consortium for National Health Reseach (CNHR), with a wealth experience including heading the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).
Other members of the advisory panel include University of Nairobi’s Professor Joseph Wangombe, Edwine Barasa, Julius Kipkemoi Korir, Chrisostim Wafula, Gerald Macharia, Elly Nyaim Opot, Grace Githemo, the National Treasury, Professor Mercy Mugo, John Paul Omollo, Meshack Ndolo, James Muriithi Ndwiga, Dr. Andrew Mulwa, Dr. Rudi Eggers, in addition to Kenneth Munge and Dr.Mercy Mwangangi who will be the joint secretaries.
The Universal Health Coverage Essential Benefits Package (UHC-EBP) that the panel is in charge of developing, is a program that provides health coverage to all Kenyans while ensuring the beneficiaries do not face financial hardship while seeking health services.
The advisory panel’s functions will include developing criteria for determining the inclusion and exclusion of drugs, services and commodities that will fall under the UHC-EBP. Using evidence, the panel is required to come up with a list of services that should be prioritised while taking into consideration its impact on financial protection, cost-effectiveness, and equitable access across the population.
Furthermore, the advisory panel will determine the cost and premiums payable for the health benefit package services, design mechanisms for paying health providers and payment rates. They will create a uniform pricing strategy package and define information requirements; that will guide the routine collection of data appropriate for pricing in both private and public institutions.
The team will report to the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Health and are expected to deliver a list of services, medicines and commodities that will be covered through the UHC-EBP; based on projections of future supply and demand.
They are also expected to deliver a standard criterion for assessing inclusion and exclusion of services, drugs, medical supplies and technologies in the UHC-EBP. Additionally, the panel is expected to deliver a portfolio of procedures and services costed using actuarially-informed supply and demand estimates.
From 8th June 2018, the advisory panel has two years to perform its mandate. However, they have two months to deliver a criterion to guide the inclusion and exclusion of services, drugs and commodities in addition to a list of services to be prioritised in the Universal Health Coverage package. The team will also deliver a recurrent work plan of activities based on the assignments issued by the Cabinet Secretary (CS) and report periodically to the CS.