Effect of Kitui County Health Insurance Cover on the utilization of health services in Kitui County.
Atieno, Grace Rabut
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Health financing systems are critical for reaching universal health coverage. This is achieved by raising funds for health, reducing financial barriers to access through prepayment and subsequent pooling of funds in preference to direct out-of-pocket payments. As Kenya renews its focus on achieving Universal health coverage by 2022, Kitui County introduced a customized insurance scheme called Kitui County Health Insurance Cover (KCHIC) in August of 2017. Being the seventh largest county in Kenya, this study focused on Kitui as a unique county with Arid and Semi-Arid climate, high poverty rate and low insurance penetration. The introduction of KCHIC is a reflective consideration of the demographic diversities that are identifiable with the healthcare needs of the county residents. The purpose of this study therefore, was to determine the effect of KCHIC on utilization of health services. The objectives were to establish the effect of antenatal care clinic attendance, post-natal care clinic attendance, family planning attendance, child welfare attendance and outpatient department attendance on utilization of health services in Kitui County. Data from District Health Information Systems (DHIS) summary form MOH 717 and hospital health services records were used. Descriptive statistics was used to determine the average monthly mean of the first four months before the introduction of KCHIC and average monthly mean of the first four months after introduction of KCHIC. A paired t-test was performed to establish whether there was any significant difference in the utilization of health services based on number of visits in all the 8 hospitals combined. The findings of the study revealed that KCHIC has had increased utilization of health services. The increased was observed in the post-natal care, child welfare care, family planning and outpatient attendance, however, utilization of services in the antenatal care clinic attendance measured in number of visits by patients had no significance difference in mean before and after the introduction of KCHIC. The study therefore recommends that other studies be carried out on all the hospitals in Kitui County offering services to KCHIC beneficiaries to analyze factor affecting utilization of services across all hospital departments. The study concluded that introduction of KCHIC has increased utilization of health services across the hospitals at independent level in Kitui County
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