In my previous post on Universal Health Coverage, I had expressed my excitement about the initiative and also my concerns. Even as I had cautioned that we should be careful not to think of UHC as utopia, I am unable to resist the urge to share what it means to me as a young person. And while I am aware of the many challenges that stand in the way of the realisation of a situation where everyone is able to access the healthcare they need at a cost they can afford, I choose to be positive that slowly, we shall get there.
The future of UHC directly depends on the choices of young people. The questions we ask, the information we get, the leaders we elect. We are the ones who bear the weight of our sick parents, friends, families and even ourselves. So we ought to be concerned about the realisation of the UHC dream, because it is a good dream!
As far as I can tell, here is the vision I have of Universal Health Coverage in Kenya: –
- UHC means that I don’t have to beg people by doing a harambee and pleading for donations to raise money to clear my hospital bills. I fall ill, I am treated, I pay what I can, no need to form a WhatsApp group.
- I envision well staffed and adequately equipped hospitals. Hospitals with clean water, enough electricity (even using renewable energy like solar in arid places), working machines, health specialists as well as other health care workers.
- UHC means that I should not expect to be told that there are no medicines at the pharmacy.
- It means that health care workers working in all levels of healthcare facilities are well motivated and remunerated to come to work and give their best.
- UHC means that the government will be putting in investments in the education and training of health care workers so that they keep delivering quality services.
- I see a time when I shall not expect to be told that the wards are full so there are no beds.
- UHC means shorter queues in the waiting rooms because hospitals are big and well staffed and numerous so people don’t have to crowd in one health centre.
- I imagine clean hospitals that are well designed and well painted. Who said hospitals must be blue and cold? Also, why should the CCC be put next to the general receiving area?
- In the UHC world, my NHIF will pay my hospital bill without the complications of having to make phone calls and plead and wish.
- From my understanding of UHC, it means that just because I am dirty and sweaty because I am from the village will not determine how I am treated. Likewise, whatever my religious, sexual or political orientation, I will be treated with the highest level of dignity.
- UHC means smooth hospital procedures.
- UHC means clean bills that are easy to understand.
- UHC means I don’t have to plan to go abroad to seek medical care because I can find it within the borders of Kenya.
- UHC means that people living with HIV and TB will access their drugs for free, on time, anywhere.
- UHC means that my mother, sisters, girlfriends, their girlfriends and all other girls will have easy access high quality, affordable pads. In fact, it would be much better if the pads can be made free! I am more than convinced that Kenya can afford it, seeing that our president said that Kenya looses not less than 2 Billion shillings in Corruption every day.
- UHC means I can access Family Planning options should I feel the need to, and I will get accurate information and the best quality method.
- Universal Health Coverage means that centres have been established to cater to the needs of people living with disabilities. That investments have been made to ensure that their facilities are meeting their unique needs.
- The government has partnered with the private sector to establish well functioning nursing homes.
- Rehabilitation centres are operating in the latest standards to achieve more desirable outcomes.
- It means that the government will work with the media, local leaders, micro-influencers and other stakeholders to give me information that helps me keep healthy so that I don’t end up in the hospital in the 1st place. This information may be nutrition tips, hygiene tips etc. To make this information relatable, I suggest that it is customised to suit the livelihoods of the various audiences, because what you recommend to a pastrolist community is not what you might recommend to a fishing community.
What does UHC mean to you? Share on the comments below.