Thursday, July 9, 2009

MOU on Health: Government and Religious Organizations Partner

The Kenyan government will now subsidize efforts by Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) in providing health care to Kenyans.

This comes after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on July 9, 2009 between the government and FBOs representatives, including Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC); Supreme council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM), and Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), at the government’s Ministry of Health offices, Nairobi.

“With signing of this MoU, we now have a partnership framework that will enable government subsidize efforts of our partners,” said Prof. James Ole Kiyiapi, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Medical Services.

The PS praised FBOs for operating health care facilities in remotest areas where public health services are inaccessible or inexistent.

Our job now is to make it easier for our partners, he said.

His Eminence, John Cardinal Njue, who is the chairman of KEC termed the MoU as ‘unique, an initiative to carry on the healing ministry’.

“It is our hope that this will be continued to enable proper services to our people as government and FBOs,” he said.

And Prof Abdulghafur El-Busaidy of SUPKEM said the partnership is a sign the ‘we are focused to make it easier for our people to access health services’.

The MoU was a culmination of efforts between government and the religious organizations to partner in health care that were initiated back in 2004.

While acknowledging that the government has limited resources, Prof Ole Kiyiapi said that the government is adopting an open door policy approach.

“We can complement each other, rather than compete. Instead of waiting until that time when the government will have enough money to provide health care for all, let us look at how effective can we utilize the available resources,” he said.

Such resources will include human resource, drugs and equipment. Prior to this MoU Government has been subsidizing health care in F BO owned health facilities as per specific requests, which have since dwindled due to poor economic growth.

Currently, there are 600 FBO dispensaries in the country that whose drugs supply is subsidized by the government through its Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA). Of these, 250 are Catholic owned dispensaries.

Also, as per MoU, government will, for instance, no longer be posting nurses and doctors to FBO facilities direct, but through the respective FBOs’ Secretariats.

At the same time, Prof Ole Kiyiapi revealed that government will be employing 4,200 nurses of temporary contract basis in the current government’s financial year (2009/2010).

This is meant to assuage a deficit of 18,000 nurses needed in the country. There are 17,000 nurses in the government’s payroll currently. This is part of human resource that is expected to be shared between the partners in the MoU.

According to Dr. Robert Ayisi, the National Executive Secretary in the KEC’s Catholic Commission for Health of Kenya, the Catholic Church provides 30% of all health care services in the Kenya.

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