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Health services spending on the rise

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024 04:45 | By
Medics attend to patients at the Kenyatta National Hospital in the past.
Medics attend to patients at the Kenyatta National Hospital in the past. PHOTO/Print

Spending on health services by the national government and counties is expected to rise, with just 40 days remaining to the end of this financial year, the latest economic survey shows.

Meanwhile, the report released yesterday by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) highlights several developments in the sector.

At the national level, government expenditure on health is expected to almost double from Sh88.1 billion in 2022/23 to Sh161.8 billion in 2023/24, while counties anticipate an increase of 30.2 percent to Sh124.3 billion from Sh95.5 billion in 2022/23.

The survey also shows that the number of principal beneficiaries of the defunct National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) rose from 15.5 million in 2022 to 16.3 million in 2023.

“The informal sector accounted for the majority in membership, accounting for 69.2 percent of the total,” said the report launched by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u.

Recurrent expenditure on health services is expected to more than double from Sh43.0 billion in 2022/23 to Sh89.8 billion in 2023/24.

Development expenditure on health services is also expected to increase by 59.7 percent to Sh72.0 billion in 2023/24.

Contraceptives

However, even as the expenditure soars, the survey shows that the total number of health facilities decreased by 8.8 per cent to 15,070 in 2023, while Level 4 hospitals increased to 1,020, accounting for 6.8 per cent of the total facilities in 2023.

The report also shows that the number of new clients for all contraceptive methods decreased, with the exception of Pills Progestin, Implants Insertion, and Bilateral Tubal Ligation (BTL) sterilization for females.

“Family Planning Injections were the most popular method of contraception,” NKBS director general Macdonald Obudho noted in his presentation of the survey findings.

In the review period, the number of licensed health professionals increased across all cadres except medical lab technicians and physiotherapists (diploma).

Licensed professionals

The proportion of licensed health professionals per 100,000 people increased for nurses and clinical officers while it remained stable for doctors in 2023.

“The overall number of middle level medical trainees at the Kenya Medical Training College- KMTC increased by 15.2 per cent to 26,830, while the number of middle level medical graduates increased by 37.5 per cent to 22,681 in the 2022/23 academic year,” the survey says.

There was a slight decrease in the number of registered births from 1.22 million in 2022 to 1.19 million in 2023, with 99 percent occurring in a health facility.

The number of deaths registered in 2023 dropped to 205,731 from 213,210 in 2022.

“However, the coverage of birth registration dropped from 80.6 per cent in 2022 to 76.6 per cent in 2023,” the survey shows.

Similarly, the coverage of deaths registration dropped from 47.6 per cent to 45.1 per cent during the same period, according to the findings of the Economic Survey, 2024.

Birth registrations for last year were 76.6 percent, down from 80.6 percent in 2022, while in the same period, death registrations dropped from 47.6 per cent to 45.1 per cent.

The number of health facilities categorised by level, type and ownership from 2019 to 2023 shows a decline by 8.8 percent to 15,070 in 2023.

In the review period, 73.8 percent of health facilities were Level 2, while 19.2 per cent were Level 3.

“The primary care hospitals increased by 62 to 1,020 and accounted for 6.8 per cent of the total facilities in 2023,” the survey shows.

On the other hand, secondary care hospitals increased by one facility, while tertiary referral hospitals remained at six in 2023.

The government owns most of the primary care, secondary care and tertiary referral hospitals. On deliveries in health facilities, there was a drop by 0.1 percent from 1.249.9 thousand in 2022 to 1,248.2 thousand in 2023.

“The number of deliveries through Caesarean section has been increasing over time and rose by 3.7 per cent to 219,112 in 2023,” noted Dr Obudho.

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