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Kenyan Government Implements Health Sector Services Fund
Posted in Health Financing, Policy by Cavin Otieno on January 5th, 2011

The Health Sector Services Fund (HSSF), an innovative direct transfer of funds to dispensaries and health centres, was eventually implemented on 28th October 2010. The government disbursed Ksh 143 million to 590 health centres across the country. The HSSF aims to improve the delivery of quality essential services in an equitable and efficient manner. The financial resources disbursed through HSSF are intended to meet various expenses at the facility level, including medical supplies, the employment of casual workers, operational costs, maintenance and community outreach. The World Bank and UNICEF are complementing government financial resources while other partners, particularly the German International Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ) and The World Health Organisation (WHO), are providing technical assistance. It is anticipated that health indicators will improve tremendously once this fund is fully rolled out. All government health centres will be covered during the the first year; dispensaries and Faith Based Health Facilities (FBO) will be covered in the 2nd year.

The German International Cooperation, GIZ and the World Bank will provide consultancy support for an assessment of the FBO institutional capacity and preparedness for the disbursement of the HSSF. The assessment will focus on the possible risks, institutional and governance arrangements and the human resource capacity to successfully manage the funds and meet agreed service delivery targets. The assessment team will consist of a social scientist familiar with institutional and governance issues of FBOs, a risk analysis expert familiar with HSSF financial guidelines and a human resources in health specialist. Some of the key questions that will be addressed by this assessment include; how the existing institutional and governance structures provide a leverage for accountability and the community to participate in decision making; how the financial management mechanisms meet HSSF and development partner’s requirements and human resource capacity building needs at FBO .

It is envisaged that the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation will constitute a steering team to provide oversight for the assessment. This team will include representatives of all three FBO secretariats (Kenya Episcopal Conference, Christian Health association of Kenya and the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims).

The assessment is scheduled to be finalised by the end of March 2011. the findings of the assessment will be disseminated to key stakeholders and will provide the basis for concrete action towards disbursements to the FBOS.

The implementation of the HSSF is a great step towards improving the delivery of quality essential services in an equitable and efficient manner. The German International Cooperation’s health programme has been contributing to the attainment of this goal through support of reforms in the health sector. Most notable being the development of a health financing strategy that aims to ensure universal coverage and other health systems strengthening efforts that aim to improve delivery of quality health services.

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