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by / Friday, 16 December 2016 / Published in Vacancies

December is Universal Health Coverage Month
Universal Health Coverage Day on 12 December has become the annual rallying point for the growing movement for health for all. It marks the anniversary of the United Nations’ historic and unanimous endorsement of universal health coverage in 2012. This year, NEPHAK also took interest in the movement for Health for All. To commemorate the Universal Health Coverage Day 2016, NEPHAK engaged in a number of activities. The activities were accomplished in partnership with, World AIDS Campaign Health (WACI-Health: wacihealth.org), KELIN (kelinkenya.org), Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO: kanco.org), AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF-Kenya: aidshealth.org), Health NGOs Network (HENNET: Hennet.or.ke), Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya (WOFAK: wofak.or.ke ), the Kenya Network of Religious Leaders living with and/or affected with HIV/AIDS (KENERELA+: inerelakenya.org). and the Kenya Medical Association (KMA: kma.co.ke)

On the occasion of the World AIDS Day 2016, NEPHAK set the stage by calling for an HIV-sensitive Universal Health Coverage Schemes. Through a statement read in more than 30 counties, PLHIV leaders affiliated to NEPHAK stated that universal health coverage is a sure strategy to deliver on the 90.90.90 global targets and end AIDS in Kenya by 2030. See: http://nephak.or.ke/world-aids-day-2016-fast-track-the-implementation-of-hiv-sensitive-universal-health-coverage/

Discussion on Universal Health Coverage
Dubbed the High Level Panel on UHC, the event, held on the 9th December 2016 was attended by 46 participants and presided over by a representative of the Ministry of Health. Below is the summary of the key statement and remarks from the event:
• Dr. Peter Kimuu, the Director, Policy, Planning and Health Financing at the Ministry of Health gave key note address on the Kenya commitments and progress towards universal health coverage. Basing his address on 7 pillars of universal health coverage by the World Health Organization, his conclusion was that the Government will lead but all stakeholders must be part of the movement to deliver health for all.
• John-Paul Omollo, Coordinator, Health NGOs Network (HENNET) rallied the participants behind the call for universal health coverage emphasizing the critical role the local CSOs and citizens have to play to demand that the government and partners must avoid complacency and act with ambition.
• Dr. Stellar Bosire, the CEO, Kenya Medical Association stated that the private sector and the professional bodies must act to deliver the call for health for all. She called upon the profit driven pharmaceutical companies and trade regimes to embrace the sustainable development goals and improve on innovation to help secure and sustain health for the poor.
• Ms Nerima Were, the SRHR Advocacy Manager at KELIN reminded the participants about the Kenya Vision 2030 and related policies which are supportive of a healthy population. In particular, Nerima pointed out the progressive nature of the Kenya constitution 2010 (Article 43) and which guarantees access to quality health care for all.
• Ms Faith Ndung’u of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF-Kenya) raised the question: Where is the Money for Universal Health Coverage? Backed up with the past and current data on health financing in Kenya, she called upon the government and partners to do more and do it urgently to enable the delivery of health for the poor.
• Ms Rosemary Mburu, World AIDS Campaign-Health concluded the panel discussions by sharing with participants the opportunity for the global ‘partnerships to deliver universal health coverage” focusing on the proposed Civil Society Engagement Mechanism (CSEM) to be approved by the UHC2030 Steering Committee on the 12th of December’. She explained why and how the IHP became IHP_Plus and how Kenya CSOs can engage at national, regional, continental and global levels. She asked participants to join this global movement that is building a partnership to strengthen health systems.

Participants then had the opportunity to engage the panelists and raised a number of questions and comments both on the topics covered above and other related topics. Detailed questions and discussion topics, including the response from the representative of the Ministry of Health can be obtained on further request.

Other UHC Day events.
To broaden the partnership for future UHC movement in Kenya, NEPHAK joined the forums convened by the African Institute of Health and Development (AIHD) on the 13th December and that of the African Capacity Alliance (ACA) on the 14th December 2016 in Nairobi. The result is the growing list of like-minded organizations keen to push for health for all in Kenya.

Conclusion and Next Steps.
The overriding conclusion is that Kenya must join the community of nations aspiring for universal health coverage. This is provided for by the constitution and other national policies. Individuals and institutions sharing on this aspiration must step forward and forge a united front for a successful health for all campaign. The next step for Kenya CSOs and their allies is to forge a national UHC Coalition and foster formidable partnership with the global UHC Coalition to drive the UHC agenda forward. The next step is for NEPHAK to lead discussions on how to have a national coalition for a united UHC movement

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