Kenya passes Digital Health Act
Kenya has enacted new health laws, notably the Digital Health Act, 2023, to strengthen the legal basis for healthcare financing, health service provision, and achieving universal healthcare coverage.
Other laws enacted include Social Health Insurance Act, 2023, Primary Health Care Act, 2023 and the Facility Improvement Financing Act, 2023.
Kenya’s President, William Ruto, said the country’s health sector has made steady progress in digital technology transformation, however, the adoption of technology has been uncoordinated.
This he said was characterised by fragmented implementation of technologies, with health sector actors not adhering to basic digital health standards, guidelines, recommendations and digital development principles.
“These technologies have affected how health data is managed, resulting in multiple systems that have limited ability to exchange data,” he said.
He made the remarks during a speech to mark 60 years of Kenyan independence. He focused on universal health coverage, saying his team identifies digitisation as a pillar for the health sector.
Accordingly, he said: “The Digital Health Act provides the legal basis for the development of a comprehensive and integrated health information system.
“These systems will enable end-to-end visibility of health processes and seamless sharing and portability of information that will enhance health service delivery and improve efficient use of resources.
“The enactment and implementation of the Act, and the digitisation agenda, will deliver on the promise to integrate ICT to enhance telemedicine and health management information systems.”
Since assuming the presidency, Ruto has emphasised the importance of technology in increasing Kenya's effectiveness, fostering inclusivity, and promoting openness.
As a result, the Kenyan government has digitised government services, and citizens may now access over 5,000 government services online through the recently improved e-Citizen portal.
Ruto met with a number of tech CEOs last month during a US-Kenya business roadshow in San Francisco, California.
He positioned Kenya as a top investment destination for tech firms, adding, "If you set up in Kenya, your African footprint is unavoidable."