Kenya resolute to cut child mortality

September 2, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 2- The government has committed to reduce child mortality occurring in hospitals for children under five years from the current 6.8 percent to 5.5 percent.

Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o said on Thursday that they would also strive to reduce mortality of children under one year from the present 6.4 percent to 5.4 percent over the same period of time.

Speaking during the signing of performance contracts for 2010/2011, the Minister said that this would be done through increased vaccination of children so that they don’t die of preventable diseases.

“We also want to improve maternal health by increasing the proportion of pregnant women antenatal care attendance from 75 percent to 80 percent. So we are re-establishing these targets and taking initiatives to make sure we realise them,” Professor Nyong’o said.

He added that the improvement of diagnostic measures would also ensure these targets were met and added that the ministry would also strengthen hospital chains by improving commodity and supply systems.

“One of the things that we have experienced in all our health facilities is that if you introduce computer management of revenue collection, you improve revenue within three months collection by about 50-60 percent but we want to go further than that. We want to make sure that we have a paperless administration of health facilities so that we eliminate human error,” he said.

At the same time, the Minister also said that the proposed National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) premiums would be much cheaper than getting health financing from the Treasury.

Professor Nyong’o said that direct financing of health care services by government had failed even in countries like England.

“From nothing comes nothing so either you ask Uhuru (Deputy PM) to finance it which I will not mind, I will be very happy to disband NHIF and let the Treasury finance hospitals, but people who say it should be financed directly by the government are ignorant,” he opined.

The Minister insisted that the proposal was the right way forward.

“This is what we are doing at the moment and it has raised a lot of heat which I like because I like high voltage politics because really what small time private insurance are complaining about is the fact that NHIF is now beginning to cover those earning more than Sh100, 000 but this is what the free market is about- competition,” he said.

“If you downplay anything that the government does then we will never meet Vision 2030.”


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