Kenya and Thailand have recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), with the goal of studying the steps needed to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), covering discussions with many a medical health insurance, capacity building, health technology assessment, and health financing., capacity building, health technology assessment, and health financing.
The signing was handled by the Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki, representing the Kenyan government. For Thailand, Minister of Public Health, Professor Emeritus PiyasakolSakolsatayadorn, acted as the representative at the signing ceremony, held at a hotel in Nairobi, March 21.
Kariuki spoke at the ceremony, saying that there’s a few areas where Kenya can benefit from including Health Technology Assessment (HTA), UHC, as well as capacity building in HR Management, alongside scholarships for short courses, and Master’s Degrees.
She says that Kenya has quite a bit to learn from the Thai kingdom, which was successful in implementing UHC for its citizens.
According to the Cabinet Secretary, the Kenyan government has decided to sign following their visit to Thailand in January in 2019, following a meeting held in Nairobi with the Public Health Minister of Thailand, where both discussed their plans for Thailand to assist Kenya in working towards universal healthcare.
Kariuki noted that there would also be National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) reforms, in order to make medical health insurance in Kenya more responsive and reliable, similar to what Thailand did with the National Health Security Office (NHSO), which has been successfully managing Thai public health for years.
She reports that the pilot phase of the UHC had been undergoing in four counties; Isiolo, Kisumu, Machakos, and Kisumu, and has been getting positive feedback from citizens, who report that there is a reliable availability of medicine and committed healthcare providers.
On the other end, Prof. Sakolsatayadorn stated that the public health success story in Thailand is due to them making sure that medical providers focus on providing quality services, instead of making profits.
He says that, in Thailand, there are teams of medical professionals focused on providing public health services to the rural areas, supported via financial incentives. On top of that, the Professor says that the Kingdom also invested heavily in training manpower in its medical sector, which helped bump up the number of doctors graduating from 1000 to 3000.