It gives me great pleasure to join you at this Second Universal Health Coverage for Sustainable Development Conference here in Nyeri County. I thank the Vision Delivery Secretariat for its leadership and vision for organizing this very crucial conference. I also thank the leadership of Nyeri County for hosting the conference and for their hospitality. In view of health being a devolved function in our constitution it is apt that we are holding this conference at the County level.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good health is critical to human happiness and well being. It plays a vital role in boosting economic growth, poverty reduction and the realization of social and economic goals. A healthy population lives longer, boosts labor productivity, increases educational attainment and income and thus reduces poverty in a society. Healthy people also save more which boosts investment and thus creates employment for young people.
The theme of this conference, “Meeting Kenya’s Universal Health Coverage for Sustainable Development” is very important in ensuring individual, household and community and country’s prosperity. Further the Conference is timely especially when the Government is implementing the “Big Four” Agenda in which Universal Health Coverage is one of the strategic priorities for the next five years. As you are aware, this Conference theme coincided with this year’s theme of the World Health Day, celebrated internationally on April 2018 and which was “Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere”. This shows that all people, young or old, should be able to enjoy their fundamental right of highest possible standards of health. It is also aligned to the first Universal Health Coverage Conference held at Kusyombunguo hotel in Makueni County on 4th to 5th April 2018 with the theme of meeting Kenya’s Universal Health Care challenge.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Universal Health Coverage is anchored on international, regional and national development frameworks. These frameworks strive to achieve equitable and quality health care to all populations for all ages.
To effectively address the issue of health, most countries have been strategically planning their projects and programmes to achieve this aspiration. These frameworks which form the reference point for Kenya include Sustainable Development Goals, African Union Agenda 2063, the Kenya Vision 2030 and the Constitution.

Globally, the ambitious aspirations of Agenda 2030 for sustainable development to “leave no one behind” calls for strong partnerships and new and innovative ways of working together.
The Sustainable Development Goal No. three (3) is to ensure 3 healthy lives and promote well being for all at all ages. This goal has several targets to be observed up to the year 2030.
These are:
1. Reduce maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births;
2. Reduce neonatal mortality to 12 per 1,000 live births and under-five mortality to 25 per 1000 live births;
3. End epidemics of HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases;
4. Reduce by 1/3 premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment;
5. Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol;
6. Half the number of deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents;
7. Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services;
8. Achieve universal health coverage, and
9. Substantially reduce the number of deaths and illness from hazardous chemicals, air, water and soil pollution.

In Africa, the African Union Agenda 2063 is a strategic framework for the socioeconomic transformation of the continent over 50 years. It builds on, and seeks to accelerate the implementation of past, existing and new national, regional and continental initiatives for trans-formative, inclusive real growth with equity, rapid resilient and sustainable socio-economic development. One of the aspirations of Agenda 2063 is a prosperous Africa, based on inclusive growth and sustainable development. Among the goals of this aspiration is to achieve healthy and well-nourished citizens with the priority areas being health and nutrition. The AU agenda 2063 goal on healthy and well-nourished citizens converges with the SDG goal No. 3 as well as Kenya’s legal and policy framework as relates to health outcomes. These goals are also in harmony with His Excellency the President’s trans-formative pillars of change for the next five years, the “Big Four” agenda which I will discuss latter in this address.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
vii. Coming back home, In Article 43 of the Constitution of Kenya on the Economic and Social Rights, every person has the right to the highest attainable standards of health, which includes the right to healthcare services, including reproductive health. The Health sector endeavors to achieve this aspiration by implementing effective and efficient strategies.
viii. The Vision 2030, Kenya’s long-term development blueprint aims at transforming Kenya into a newly industrialized country by 2030. Under the social pillar, the vision of the health sector is to ensure equitable affordable and quality health care to the highest standards for all. This is in recognition of the fact that good health and nutrition boosts human capacity to be productive which in turn will enhance economic growth, contribute to poverty reduction and the realization of the Vision’s aspirations.

ix. The third MTP III (2018-2022) will focus on the achievement of Universal Health Coverage by implementing programmes that increase insurance coverage and access to quality healthcare services and offer financial protection to people when accessing healthcare. This is in line with His Excellency the President’s transformative pillars of change, the “Big Four” agenda of Universal Health Coverage; Food and Nutrition Security, Manufacturing and Affordable Housing.
x. Towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage, the Government will continue to invest in provision of quality and accessible health care. To realize this objective, the Government will focus on re-configuring the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). In particular, the Government will review and amend the NHIF Act to align it to the universal health coverage as well as review the laws governing private insurance companies to encourage investment by private health insurers and bring the cost of cover within the reach of every Kenyan.

xi. To demonstrate the commitment of the Government of Kenya to Universal Health Coverage, on 13th April 2018, His Excellency the President launched a comprehensive NHIF medical scheme amounting to KSh. 4.05 billion for all students in Public secondary school to insure them for all kinds of injuries and diseases. This will ease the financial burden of parents especially in case of emergencies. Another important 5 programme is the Health Insurance Project for elderly persons and persons with severe disabilities to cover 1.5 million persons by 2022.

xii. In the Counties, the Government shall scale up the provision of specialized medical equipment and increase the number of health facilities at the community level, including mobile health services, to increase access to specialized healthcare. Further, there are plans to expand the “Linda Mama” programme (free maternity programme) to mission hospitals and private hospitals and to enlist Community Health Volunteers to help in healthcare service provision at the grassroots level.

Ladies and Gentlemen
xiii. Looking at the performance of the health sector, several achievements have been recorded over the years in relation to key health indicators. Just to mention a few: Infant mortality declined to 39/1000 live births in 2017 from 52/1000 live births in 2012 while under-five mortality declined to 52/1000 live births from 74/1000 live births during the same period; the total number of registered health personnel increased from 147,439 in 2016 to 160,749 in 2017; the number of registered health personnel per 100,000 population increased from 329 in 2016 to 349 in 2017 while; overall membership of NHIF rose by 11.1% from 6,124.3 thousand in 2015/2016 financial year to 6,804.9 thousand in 2016/2017 financial year.
xiv. While we acknowledge the achievements in the health sector a lot more needs to be done to achieve the goal of Universal Health Coverage for the benefit of all Kenyans. It is important that we continue leveraging on the effect of synergy through partnerships and collaborations and take advantage of the goodwill of the development partners on financial and technical assistance, private entities specifically through the PPP framework, Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs), NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community Based Organizations (CSOs) to deliver health service to the population. We must continue to identify and implement innovative mechanisms that are necessary for effective implementation of programmes and projects in the health sector and sustainable financing of health services.

xv. Bearing in mind that the health sector is closely linked with other sectors in the economy a multi-sectoral approach is essential for successful implementation of programmes and projects. The output of the health sector, that is, good health is 6 used as input in other sectors, for example, performance of the agricultural sector and manufacturing are dependent on a healthy work force while the manufacturing sector supports the health sector, for instance, through manufacture of pharmaceuticals. There are therefore forward and backward linkages across the sectors in the economy.

xvi. Accurate, relevant and up to date data is important for planning, monitoring and evaluation in the health sector. It is therefore important to enhance the methods of collecting data on health care indicators in a timely manner as well as develop a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system. Impact assessments of Health Policies, Programmes and Projects are also important.

xvii. Therefore, partnerships and collaborations in this sector with the private sector, NGOs, Community Based Organizations and Religious Organizations who are already well recognized important players in this sector is very critical. Areas of collaboration and partnership include but are not limited to provision of health services, surveys, monitoring and evaluation and impact assessments.

xviii. To enhance, acceptance and ownership of the health sector and indeed all sectors policies, programmes and projects a consultative and participatory process is essential. We should therefore endeavor to involve stakeholders and in particular communities. Public engagement in the entire cycle including monitoring and evaluation must be deliberate.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests .
As I finalize this address, I wish to reiterate the importance of this conference to the State Department for Planning in the National Treasury and Planning at which I provide leadership. The mandate of the State Department for Planning is to coordinate national and development planning as well implementation, monitoring and evaluation of SDGs. The outcome of this conference will therefore be useful in policy formulation, planning and budgeting in the health sector

xx. In conclusion, Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to reiterate the importance of this conference and the theme of Universal Health Coverage.
Looking at the mix of participants at this conference, I expect that the discussions will be of high quality.
I look forward to practical recommendations and innovative solutions that will come 7 out of this conference and that will inform the work in the Health sector with a special focus on achievement of Universal Health Coverage for the benefit of the people of this country.
Let me once again offer my compliments to the organizers of this conference.
Thank you all for listening to me.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL