Kenya’s Path to Universal Health Coverage Enhanced by Digital Health Innovations

By Tajeu Shadrack Nkapapa

Digital health is a key component of Kenya’s strategy to reach Universal Health Coverage, a central theme highlighted at the current HIV Service Delivery Integration Summit in Mombasa.

Dr. Joyce Wamicwe, who leads the Division of Research and Innovation at the Ministry of Health, stressed the significant changes brought about by these projects, such as the Digital Health Act.

This law is designed to computerize medical records, introduce electronic health services, and incorporate telemedicine, with a special focus on improving healthcare access in remote rural regions.

Dr. Wamicwe emphasized the recent parliamentary approval of the Digital Health Act during the virtual discussion.

He discussed how this act has the potential to streamline healthcare delivery, improve data management, and position Kenya as a frontrunner in digital health within the region.

Additionally, the Kenya Health Management Information Systems project plays a crucial role in digitizing HIV data collection, leading to better patient-centred care and the utilization of individual-level health data.

Kenya is dedicated to telemedicine and electronic health records in order to close the healthcare access divide and tackle issues like extended wait times for specialized care and disparities in health outcomes.

Dr. Wamicwe emphasized the government’s backing for domestic production of healthcare technologies, which promotes self-reliance and cost-effectiveness while improving patient care across the country.

Universal Health Care initiative was under the “Big Four Agenda” development blueprint initiated by retired President Uhuru Kenyatta during his second term in office, from 2017 to 2022.

The aim for this initiative was to provide access to affordable and quality healthcare for all Kenyans by the end of his tenure.

Among the initiatives that were to be implemented were Expanding the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to cover more citizens, including those in the informal sector and also strengthening primary healthcare services and infrastructure, especially in rural and underserved areas.