Mjadala VI: The Cost of Corruption in Kenya's Health Sector

Held On: Friday 2nd October 2015, 5.30pm - 8.00pm
Venue: Shifteye Gallery, Priory Building, Argwings Kodhek Rd, Kilimani, Nairobi


Sen. Mutula Kilonzo Jr. Senator, Makueni County
Dr. Mwachonda Chibanzi National Executive Council Member, KMPDU
Mr. Edward Ouko Auditor General, Office of the Auditor General


Renee Ngamau Host - Capital in the Morning, Capital FM


EVENT BRIEFING NOTE: The Bill of Rights in the Constitution guarantees every Kenyan access to the highest attainable standard of health. The State is thus expected and mandated to take legislative, policy and budgetary measures to progressively ensure that this right is realized. In a move aimed to among others, improve access and quality of health service delivery, the Constitution of Kenya 2010 devolved health to the Counties. In spite of this, realizing this constitutional vision is hampered by many factors but perhaps none bigger than the crisis of governance in the sector and inability of the State to provide sufficient resources – financial, human and infrastructural – to deliver quality health service that is accessible and equitable to all citizens.

With 1 doctor per 10,000 residents (WHO, 2013) Kenya’s ratio falls below average for the African continent. More than 50% of the 4,500 physicians in the entire country practice in Nairobi while only 1,000 of all available physicians work in the public sector that accounts for a majority of Kenyans. Kenya’s health allocation of KES. 47.4 billion for financial year 2014/2015 stands at about 4% of national budget. While a slight improvement from 2.6% allocation in the previous year, this falls far short of the Abuja Declaration that set the minimum standard for budgetary allocation for health at 15% of annual budgets of all AU member states.

Like resources, the challenge of governance in the sector undermines effective, efficient and timely health service delivery. In particular, corruption and inefficiency is fueled by reluctance by both national and county governments to be more transparent and accountable to each other and to the citizen public.  During FY 2013/14, National government ministries, departments, commissions etc. could not account for expenditures totaling KES.67 billion. The Ministry of Health could not account for KES.23 billion at a time when medics and nurses have gone on strike for poor or delayed pay, hospitals have gone without medicines, and critical equipment for terminally ill patients are insufficient and broken down

Corruption, whether through embezzlement from health budgets or bribes extorted at the point of service, has enormous negative effects. Corruption reduces the resources available for health, lowers the quality and effectiveness of health care services, decreases the volume and increases the cost of providing health services.

Structured around a moderator and discussants, this SID Mjadala Series brought together key leaders, health practitioners and civic actors to reflect on strategies to address budget deficits, corruption, and management of Kenya’s health sector. Some of the key questions we explored are:

  1. What are the major avenues, loopholes for corruption in the health sector?
  2. What is corruption, lack of accountability in the health sector costing the economy, citizens?
  3. What innovative measures could we adopt to reduce wastage, pilferage and outright corruption?
  4. What would it take to achieve Universal Primary Health care in Kenya?

Mjadala VI: The Cost of Cost of Corruption in Kenya's Health Sector