JKUAT Maps Diagnostic Testing Services in Kisumu, Nyeri for UHC

Dr. Patrick Amoth give his remarks during the meeting

In a bid to inform policy and decision-making on diagnostic services in Kenya, Digital Health Applied Research Centre (DHARC) domiciled at JKUAT, conducted a study in Kisumu and Nyeri Counties geared towards improving essential diagnostic services for women and children in Kenya.

Funded by the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) and supported by the Ministry of Health, the Centre mapped out 30 testing services across all six levels of Kisumu and Nyeri Counties to identify gaps and opportunities to strengthen services and improve access to quality health care.

The Principal Investigator of the study, Prof. Simon Karanja, said the study was piloted in the two counties because of their high prevalence of communicable diseases (malaria and HIV in Kisumu) and non-Communicable diseases (hypertension, diabetes and cancer in Nyeri).

“It is our hope that the findings from the project will inform decision-making processes and help the optimization of diagnostic services for maternal and child health in Kenya to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Prof. Karanja.

Dr. Patrick Amoth interacts with the findings of the study presented to him by the DHARC team

Ag. Director-General for Health, Dr. Patrick Amoth appreciated the researchers for their efforts saying, the data and GIS images generated by the study will be critical in bringing science and research to the fore of policy formulation.

“Decision making and policy formulation in health need to be driven by science and empirical data generated from studies like this one, being launched today for the country to attain universal health coverage,” elucidated Dr. Amoth.

The Director-General further averred that in order to improve the whole continuum of care in the country, there is need to expand diagnostic services at the low level of Kenyan health system.

“As we witness an epidemiological transition from communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases, we need to improve our diagnostics services at levels 2 and 3 for UHC,” said Dr. Amoth.

While acknowledging that data is vital in decision-making and informing policy, Dr. Amoth said facilities need to interact with each other seamlessly to ensure the health sector leverages on the Information Management Systems.

“COVID-19 made us rethink how we invest in health care systems and infrastructure. The efforts witnessed through the initiative have been significant but more need to be done. We now have to rethink health financing and human resources, especially in level 2 and 3 facilities for the attainment of Vision 2030 with regards to health,” urged Dr. Amoth.

In a presentation made by Dr. Jane Aduda, a member of DHARC, summarizing the findings of the study, it was revealed that urgent action is needed to address high maternal and child mortality in Kenya, particularly in terms of improving efficiency and access to diagnostic services.

Prof. Joseph Mathu Ndung’u infers with Dr. Patrick Amoth after the meeting

The study generated six key recommendations to improve diagnostic services in the two counties including priorities for investments, the number and type of additional health facilities needed in each county and sample referral policies.

In order to meet primary health care needs, the study recommended for Kisumu County to invest in more level 2 facilities (an additional 48 facilities) while Nyeri County needs three additional level 4 facilities to improve access to maternal and child healthcare.

The 2nd Phase of the study launched in March 2022 will extend the study to include reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescence health, communicable and non-communicable diseases as well as diagnostics for road traffic accidents across Nakuru, Kilifi, Kisumu and Nyeri counties.

FIND Kenya, Executive Director, Prof. Joseph Mathu Ndung’u lauded the researchers for the work done this far. He encouraged the DHARC team to look at how road networks, geographical features and human behaviour affect the access and availability of diagnostic services in health facilities.

Taking up the challenge, Prof. Karanja said, Phase 2 will evaluate a set of more detailed indicators of diagnostic availability, quality, affordability and access, trackable through a web-based dashboard to provide county governments with evidence-based recommendations to improve diagnostic services.

Also speaking during the meeting was JKUAT Principal, College of Health Sciences, Dr. Reuben Thuo, who represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, JKUAT Registrar, Academic Affairs, Dr. Esther Muoria, Registrar, Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Board, Dr. Ali, Directors of Health Services Nyeri and Kisumu Counties, Dr. Nelson Mureu and Mr. Fred Odhiambo, Senior Scientist and DNO Program Lead, FIND, Dr. Karell Pelle, Director, Preventive and Promotive Health, Machakos County, Dr. Judy Kimuyu among others.

Prof. Karanja led a formidable team of multidisciplinary researchers including Dr. Jane Aduda, Dr. Reuben Thuo, Prof. Fred Wamunyokoli, Prof. Gideon Kikuvi, Mr. Henry Kissinger, Dr. Joseph Matheri, Dr. Susan Mambo, Ms. Esther Gichaiya, Dr. Joseph Machua, Dr. Justus Simba, Dr. Patrick Mburugu, Dr David Kamau, Dr Susan Mwelu and Mr. Philip Oyier.

Improving Essential Diagnostic Services in Kenya for universal health care

Comments are closed.