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Achieving Universal Health Care (UHC) is one of the targets the nations of the world set when adopting the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. Although most of the developed nations have made tremendous efforts in achieving this by 2030, none has achieved that. The major challenge lies with the developing nations including Kenya. As a country, we made a commitment towards achieving UHC by prioritizing health in the big 4 agenda. UHC is comprised of much more than just health; taking steps towards UHC means steps towards equity, development priorities, and social inclusion and cohesion, all of which affect health. For example, a higher income and social status are linked to better health. The greater the gap between the richest and poorest people, the greater the differences in health. Considering the numerous determinants of health such as poverty, gender, illiteracy levels etc., preventable communicable diseases e.g. diarrheal illnesses, untreatable non-communicable diseases e.g. cancer, frequent healthcare workers unrest among others are on the rise thereby increasing suffering and death, eventually weakening the economy. Although the saying goes, health is wealth, expenditure on healthcare has become a consumption rather than investment for most counties in Kenya considering more than 30% of Kenyans live on less than a dollar per day, and this high poverty levels among the population has also impacted negatively on health financing.
Despite having National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) providing low cost health coverage and other private insurance companies supplementing, the numerous determinants of health make it impossible for any of them to guarantee any sustainable Kenyan citizen UHC.
It is however important to note that demand for quality and affordable healthcare as provided for by UHC is rising despite the hard-economic times. Achieving UHC means achieving the other 3 agendas, but to achieve UHC, one must address poverty. Therefore, considering the huge income inequality and poverty among Kenyans, the question every Kenyan must answer is; how can we end poverty in Kenya before 2030 so the SDGs can be accomplished?
The corporate social responsibility department has approved the launch of a new program that seeks to support sustainable rural economic upgrading programs including sustainable food growing and processing and upgrading the youth businesses commonly known as ‘hustles’ into global companies so that they can increase employment opportunities especially in economically young counties in Kenya between 2020 and 2030. This will contribute towards ending poverty and achieving UHC.