Health Spending in Kenya Up, but Need for Increased Capacity and Funds Remain
October 3, 2016
A new study, released recently, shows that the Kenyan government has gradually increased its investment in the nation’s health sector over the past several years. These increases have occurred not only at the national level, but also among Kenya’s counties which collectively boosted their health contributions by nearly one-third from the previous year (see figure).
The study—an analysis of Kenya’s national and county budgets—tracks government allocations to the health sector and closely examines how the money is being spent, what gaps exist between the nation’s stated health priorities, and where the money is actually directed. Findings from the study will serve to inform health sector decisionmakers in Kenya, including national and county-level policymakers.
Given that domestic public resources in Kenya may be limited, the data and findings in this report are critical to building the capacity of the national and county governments to effectively allocate health funding to benefit those with the greatest need. Health expenditure that is targeted in such a way can contribute to improved health outcomes.
Robinson Kahuthu, a senior health policy advisor with the USAID- and PEPFAR-funded Health Policy Plus (HP+) project in Kenya/East Africa commented, “The findings demonstrate to counties how they are translating their strategies into actions, what they are funding well, and what is neglected,” Kahuthu said. “These findings are a good benchmark and baseline for future studies, so that counties and the national government can see how the health sector is performing in terms of health spending.”
The study also offers a number of recommendations. Specifically, the study’s authors advocate for the Kenyan government to further increase its health spending; improve its budget formulation process; and build the capacity of county governments to compile accurate, program-based budgets and advocate for additional resources.
To make progress toward these goals and enhance counties’ capacity to develop and implement budgets, HP+ is collaborating with the national government to train county health management teams in programme-based budgeting. These trainings will ensure that priority programmes get adequate funding and that budgets meet the requirements of Kenya’s public finance management law (PFMA 2012).
The recently published study, National and County Health Budget Analysis FY 2015/16, was conducted by Kenya’s Ministry of Health with technical and financial assistance from USAID and PEPFAR through HP+.