, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – Rural health facilities will now have direct access to money after the Ministry of Public Health launched an oversight body on Friday for the Health Sector Services Fund (HSSF).
Public Health Minister Beth Mugo said the seven-member committee was charged with mobilising resources to improve funding for health services, provide grants to faith based organisations, ensure equity in the distribution of resources and support rural communities to take charge of their own health.
“It is the key that will unlock health in our community and will enable us to reduce hospital beds so that the money we spend in treatment can go to other development issues,” the Minister said.
She said the fund established through a legal notice in December 2007 and amended through another gazette notice in June last year was a revolving one. At the end of each financial year, she said, any balances in the fund would be carried forward to the next financial year.
“To begin with we got Sh10 million in the budget from the government, the World Bank has given us Sh75 million for training and from Danida we have Sh1 billion for operations,” she said.
“That is now just to prepare the ground as we source for more funds,” she added.
The minister said the fund was set up as a mechanism for getting resources from the government and development partners and making the same available directly to health facilities for implementation of health care interventions.
The HSSF committee will serve for a period of three years and shall meet at least four times in each financial year.
“This will ensure that we stop doing everything from the headquarters by taking the resources directly to the grassroots,” she said. The committee will be headed by Stanley K Mbugua, a retired senior public servant.
Director of Public Health Dr Shahnaaz Sharif will be the Secretary while Public Health Permanent Secretary Mark Bor will be a member.
Other members include Eunice Kigen who will be an alternate for Finance Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua, Dr Esther Keino, Dr Naftal Atei and Martha Mwangangi.