Sexual Reproductive Health in light of the Big4 Agenda

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Of recent, the Government of Kenya (GoK) prioritized Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in its Big four agenda over the next five years. The Big Four Agenda which is aimed at accelerating economic growth focuses on food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and universal health.

The Government is set to roll out a Universal Health Coverage to all households by 2022 to guarantee access to quality and affordable healthcare by reconfiguring the National Hospital Insurance Fund and reforming the governance of private insurance companies to align them to the universal health coverage.

Focus on universal health stands out as the most significant and conceivably the most important strategic priority for Kenya. The reality is that a majority of Kenyans can hardly afford, worse still access health services in their various localities

The governments’ agenda to invest in health will indeed spur economic growth. The move demonstrates that the government values the need for human capital. A healthy population will engage in various economic activities hence contribute to the growth and development of Kenya.

In light of Sexual and reproductive health and rights, they relate to each of the current Millennium Development Goals, and they cut across each of the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. Sex and reproduction are essentially intimate affairs, played out within personal and familial relationships. However, the consequences of lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services, supplies, information and education are felt across entire populations, social and economic life..

The recently launched ‘Status of the African Women Report’ by International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) warns that unless countries make urgent commitment to invest in tangible actions for improving the Sexual health and lives of women and girls in Africa, the continent will continue to have poor development outcomes.

Realization 

To realise this the National government will work the county government to scale up the provision of specialised medical equipment and increase the number of health facilities at the community level, including mobile facilities in order to increase access to health services.

The existing Linda Mama Programme, a free maternity care programme is slated for expansion to mission and private hospitals to enlist community volunteers who will assist in healthcare service, provision at grassroots level.

Training of medical doctors is also set to commence, including the sourcing of health specialists from outside in order to fill the existing medical gaps.

In terms of realization of sexual reproductive health, Non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations rights organizations have this opportune moment to work with the ministry of health and county governments to ensure that part of the chunk that is set for health, a good amount goes into improvement of sexual reproductive health.

They need to convince the president and his government that we cannot achieve the health agenda if thousands of girls who form a critical population continue to undergo FGM and child marriage, that we cannot achieve the agenda if teenage girls continue to die due to unsafe abortions, we will not achieve if mothers continue to die while giving birth, we will not achieve the Big 4 health agenda if girls continue to drop out of school because they cannot access contraceptives, we will fail if teenage girls who drop out of school due to pregnancies are not allowed to re-enroll yet we have policies that protect them!

This is the opportune moment for civil rights groups to push for formulation and implementation of glossy policies that protect the health of girls and women.

Relevance 

In the national context, the Big Four are rightly pegged on the Kenya Vision 2030 and well-mainstreamed in the third-Medium Term Plan (2018-2022) of the Vision, due for launch soon. At the continental level, the Big Four Agenda aligns well with Africa’s Agenda 2063 themed “The Africa We Want”. At the global level, the Big Four Agenda is effectively aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, upon which the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are anchored.

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