Impacts of public health expenditure on health outcomes in Kenya
Ochieng, Chris S
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This paper has empirically examined the impact of public health expenditure on health outcomes in Kenya which is of interest to policy makers and forms major policy debates and priorities of many governments in the light of improving health quality using a time series data for the period . 1975 to 2008 and two measures of health outcomes namely: infant mortality rate (per 1000 live births) and under-five mortality rate (per 1000 live births) as the dependent variables while number of health professionals, public health expenditure, urbanization rate, public health expenditure as a share of gross domestic product, female literacy rate and immunization coverage jar measles as independent variables. Using a combination of utility maximization approach developed by Grossman (1972), results reveal that though greater health expenditure on health outcomes is being advocated for by many, it does not affect health outcomes in Kenya. The most important factors relevant to health outcomes in Kenya are number of health professionals, proportion of GDP spent on health, female literacy and immunization coverage. This implies that better health outcomes are associated with increased female literacy, measles immunization coverage, proportion of GDP on health and channeling more resources to educating/hiring more physicians. Since the most imp(; .[.,(11 factors relevant to' health outcomes in Kenya are numb«i .' professionals, proportion of GDP spent on health, female literacy and immunization coverage; better health outcomes can be achieved by giving proper attention to these determining factors. More particularly, the government should ensure that more women are educated by increasing girls' enrollment and offering incentives to girls. Additionally, there is need to focus on generalized infant immunization. Our sample did not include some variables, potentially relevant to determining health outcomes such as HIV/ AIDS prevalence rates, malaria prevalence rates, access to safe drinking water and the contribution of the private sector. Therefore, we suggest that in future, studies in this field should give attention to these variables.