First Lady: Patients require holistic, responsive health care systems


First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Monday said that patients require a holistic and responsive healthcare system to be completely healed.

That holistic and quality health care system must incorporate the values of excellence, listening and caring more to the people they serve, said the First Lady.

The First Lady’s speech was delivered by the chairperson, Lancet Global Health Commission, Dr Margaret E. Kruk during the launch of the LGHC’s Quality Health Systems in Boston.

She is a Commissioner of the LGHC.

“I personally believe the concept of quality healthcare encompasses a wide range of issues that centre on one basic principle: the idea that patients are people-whole, integrated people who need to be addressed holistically to be healed”, said the First Lady.

To achieve quality healthcare systems,  she added , requires strategic investment in adapting and broadening curricula for medical students to adequately deal with issues of patient service, training doctors better and improving their welfare.

Additionally, such healthcare system calls for improved quality assessment and accountability mechanism for meeting certain quality requirements.

The First Lady said quality healthcare involves having health professionals who go beyond competency, to caring and having hospitals that go beyond providing for broad basic needs to meeting the specific needs of patients.

Such healthcare systems have “treatment plans that are tailored to individuals; having doctors who assess patients not merely on the basis of medical history and medical tests, not merely on the basis of charts and numbers but also with due regard to their lives and lived realities”, she said.

The First Lady told the Global conference that over the last 10 years, Kenya has successfully investing a great deal in addressing the issues of access to health care that includes increased coverage of public health services across the country.

The investment also includes eliminating service fees for primary health care and maternity services to reduce financial barriers to access for vulnerable groups.

Kenya has also implemented innovative service delivery models to expand access for difficult to reach populations besides decentralizing the availability of specialized medical service to the advantage of underserved rural populations, said the First Lady.

There is also an expansion of health insurance programme that targets poor households, the elderly and people with disabilities.

The First Lady however said that the main challenge facing the Kenya health system is the great disparity in the quality of services offered between public and private facilities and across regions and towns.

She said Kenya has not closed the final loop in access to quality healthcare but the country is taking steps towards recognizing and enshrining the principle of patient-centered service in our healthcare system as part of a broader recognition of citizen’s constitutional rights.

The First Lady was hopeful the Lancet Forum would mark the beginning of great partnerships and collaboration towards common goals of strong, sustainable, responsive and reputable public health systems across the countries represented in the Global Health commission.