Measuring progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 3.8 on universal health coverage in Kenya

Barasa E, Nguhiu P, McIntyre D
BMJ Glob Health. 2018;3

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BACKGROUND: The inclusion of universal health coverage (UHC) as a health-related Sustainable Development Goal has cemented its position as a key global health priority. We aimed to develop a summary measure of UHC for Kenya and track the country's progress between 2003 and 2013. METHODS: We developed a summary index for UHC by computing the geometrical mean of indicators for the two dimensions of UHC, service coverage (SC) and financial risk protection (FRP). The SC indicator was computed as the geometrical mean of preventive and treatment indicators, while the financial protection indicator was computed as a geometrical mean of an indicator for the incidence of catastrophic healthcare expenditure, and the impoverishing effect of healthcare payments. We analysed data from three waves of two nationally representative household surveys. FINDINGS: The weighted summary indicator for SC increased from 27.65% (27.13%-28.14%) in 2003 to 41.73% (41.34%-42.12%) in 2013, while the summary indicator for FRP reduced from 69.82% (69.11%-70.51%) in 2003 to 63.78% (63.55%-63.82%) in 2013. Inequities were observed in both these indicators. The weighted summary measure of UHC increased from 43.94% (95% CI 43.48% to 44.38%) in 2003 to 51.55% (95% CI 51.29% to 51.82%) in 2013. CONCLUSION: Significant gaps exist in Kenya's quest to achieve UHC. It is imperative that targeted health financing and other health sector reforms are made to achieve this goal. Such reforms should be focused on both, rather than on only either, of the dimensions of UHC.