ACCESSIBILITY TO THE KENYAN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM (Barriers to accessing proper health care)

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ABSTRACT

Kenya has a population of approximately 44 million people. Health services are provided through a network of over 4,700 health facilities countrywide, with the public sector ac-counting for about 51% of these facilities. The best quality of care is found at the national referral hospitals, which provide diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative services. Kenya spent 5.1% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on healthcare in 2002. Life expectancy is also on the decline. In 2006, the child mortality rate was 78 per 1,000 live births. Among the Kenyans who are ill and choose to seek care, 44% were hindered by cost and corruption. Another 18% were hindered by the long distance to the nearest health facility. Basic primary care is provided at primary healthcare centers and dispensaries. The pur-pose of this paper is to create awareness of the current healthcare system in Kenya, its accessibility and enlighten on storage healthcare records. The research questions were: What is the current situation on healthcare accessibility in Kenya? What are the benefits of introducing a computer -based system in the Kenyan health sector? The results give a clear picture and what the healthcare system in Kenya operates and how the accessibility of healthcare facilities is experienced by the Kenyans. Some Kenyans are unable to access healthcare services due to various reasons. One of them is the distance to the health centers in relation to transport and urgency for treatment. Another problem is the cost of healthcare especially in the rural areas where a good number of civilians are below poverty level. There are also the benefits that the healthcare system will gain from introducing a computerized method of medical record storage to better identify the patients and render better healthcare services.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 FOREWORD
2 INTRODUCTION
3 AIM AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS
4 BACKGROUND
5 THEORETICAL  FRAMEWORK:  TRANSPARENCY  IN  HEALTH  CARE:  THE TIME HAS COME
            5.1 Introduction
            5.2 Price Information Is of Little Value by Itself
            5.3 The current state of information is inadequate
            5.4 Patient Use of Information Is Not Likely to Transform Health Care
            5.5 High-Deductible Health Plans and Health Savings Accounts
            5.6 What Needs To Be Done
6 METHODOLOGY
7 RESULTS
            7.1 Question 1: What is the current situation on healthcare accessibility in Kenya?
            7.2 What are the benefits of introducing a computer-based system in the Kenyan health sector?

8 FINAL DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

9 REFERENCES


INTRODUCTION


Kenya has a massively growing population but more than half of its population makes up the majority poor (Tumbo-Oeri, 2000). People living under the poverty line do not have enough earnings for their basic needs, food, water and shelter. They are therefore the people who rely most on government subsidies for health care. Unfortunately, they face many barriers in accessing health care and usually end up receiving poorer services than the minority rich population.


The Ministry of Health, MOH is the main organization that heads the Kenyan health care system. It gives the stipulations of health care and plays a big role in making the rules of the health care personnel. There are three main sectors of health care: the public sector which represents all government owned health care facilities, the private sector which collaborates private individuals and institutions and the non-profit making organ-izations which include organizations like churches which form health care facilities that are non-profit-making.


There are about 4, 700 health care facilities in Kenya that cater to the population of 44 million residents. The public sector serves more than half the citizens of Kenya and ac-counts for about 51% of all health care needs. The reason it takes precedence over the private sector is that more residents of Kenya can afford care at the government owned health care facilities as the prices are greatly subsidized and some services are offered free in public health care facilities. The main national referral hospitals in the country are the Kenyatta National Hospital, in Nairobi and the Moi Referral and Teaching Hos-pital in Eldoret, all of which are government-owned structures. This paper focuses on the government-owned health care facilities (public sector).



As a result of the high population, the Kenyan government has tried to provide equity in the health care system so as to effectively alienate human suffering and improve life-styles of her citizens. The Kenyan medical system is marred by many factors that render accessibility and delivery of health care difficult. These factors include poor govern-ance, overreliance on donor funds, corruption, nepotism, traditional and cultural beliefs of the citizens, a lack of a medical filing system, lack of efficient infrastructure, massive poverty and illiteracy.


One of the main economic activities that bring great revenue in Kenya is agriculture. This is a highly manual labour that requires lots of productivity and good health care of her citizens ensures great productivity at work too thus lowering the poverty level.


Proper health care is of importance in reducing poverty and increasing the economic growth because as it is, general unwellness of the citizens renders Kenya poorer. Most adults are unable to access proper medical care thus staying away from their workplaces on long sick leaves. These long sick leaves end up reducing the economic growth.


The set Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) focus on the improvement of health as well as enhancing human life on a global scale. There are 8 set MDGs and three of them relate to the improvement of health care provision to human beings. The three goals aim at improving maternal health, reducing child mortality as well as enhancing the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Kenya is currently battling the HIV/AIDS pandemic and malaria is one of leading causes of death in Kenya. Maternal health has lots of room for improvement in order to reduce the mortality of infants and loss of maternal deaths.


Inaccessibility to health care in Kenya is mainly evidenced by the gap between the wealthy and the poor citizens. The rich among the society are able to pay an extra amount to have their health care needs met appropriately and fast while the poor have no option but to accept whatever care they receive, at whatever time the care is availed. The health care of these poor majorities is greatly minimized by the favouritism greatly showed to the rich minorities.


The poverty level in Kenya in a study conducted in the rural areas in Kenya in 2007 linking poverty levels to the geographical conditions was estimated to be at 45%. This report showed that almost half of the 44 million residents of Kenya live under a dollar per day. This is equivalent to living under Kenyan Sh105 a day (Okwi et al, 2012).


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