Anthony Juma Makheti*
Background: Healthcare provision is one of the key strategic Development Goals to be achieved by the year 2030. Governments have directed a lot of financial resources towards this purpose in an effort to meet the threshold set out by the WHO to ensure provision of quality healthcare and access by all citizens.
Objectives: To measure the technical efficiency levels in the public health system in Meru County in Kenya and investigate determinants of the technical efficiencies among the Decision Making Units (DMUs).
Data analysis: Analysis reported in this paper is based on the data from Meru County health centres. It consisted of 17 Decision Making Units (DMUs) with inputs as clinical staff and other staff while outputs were maternal care visits and other visits. Dummy variables considered were; education, training, gender of head nurse and laboratory. Analysis was done by Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA).
Results: The analysis revealed that average technical efficiency in the sample was 45.2%. This findings suggest that the existing health care services can be increased by up to 54.8% without providing additional resources to the frontline health facilities- a near replication of findings originally reported earlier. Tobit regression results show that gender of the facility manager and the availability of a laboratory at a facility are the main determinants of efficiency.
Conclusion and recommendation: Policies designed to improve health care delivery should focus on upgrading laboratory services and skills of facility heads, especially managerial abilities of female nurses. Efforts need to be directed towards enhancing efficiency such as training staff in management practices, maintenance of laboratory equipment, gender composition of staff should equally be considered. Focus on preventive healthcare such as regular check-ups would lower risks of severe or resistant cases that are difficult to treat in order to increase efficiency. Creation of conducive waiting and smooth flow of patient cues in the health facility would also increase technical efficiency of the facility.