KENYA:Mt Kenya counties sign Universal Health Care agreements with government

January 2020 theStar; Seven counties from Mt Kenya region have entered into a partnership with the national government geared towards realisation of Universal Health Care (UHC).

Governors representing counties signed the agreements with the ministry of Health in Nairobi on Monday, a year after the pilot programmes were launched in four counties.

The chairman of the Central Region Economic Bloc and Nyandarua governor Francis Kimemia said the roll out programme will be based on the lessons learnt from the pilot counties.

“For sustainability, focus will be on the lower levers of the health sector,” said Kimemia.

President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the UHC pilot programme on December 13, 2018

World Health Organisation defines universal health care as access to quality preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitation and palliative health services regardless of their ability to pay.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said yesterday’s event marked the next phase of the project, which involved bringing on board other counties.

“We will announce on Wednesday the next group of counties which will be brought on board,” she said.

He said the partnerships would involve hiring of 4,000 interns, complimenting health technologies in counties, provision of basis equipment to health facilities and partnering in monitoring and evaluation.

Governors who signed the agreements were Martin Wambora (Embu), Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri), Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia), Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi), Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga) Kiraitu Murungi (Meru) and Kimemia. Also present was Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.

Wamalwa said the signings demonstrated a major step in strengthening the relationship between the two levels of government.

“This is a major step towards realisation of Jubilee’s Big Four Agenda,” he reiterated, while assuring that his ministry will work closely with counties towards realisation of UHC.

Waiguru assured that counties from Mt Kenya region are committed to supporting the programme. “We do not wish to delay the programme any further,” she said.

Kahiga said there may be hitches in implementation but remained confident that the programme will succeed.

Under the pilot programme, residents of four counties — Kisumu, Machakos, Nyeri and Isiolo benefited from free health services provided by the government.

Those who were registered under the programme were mostly the unemployed, who are not automatically covered by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

The UHC package will catered for outpatient care such as consultation, mental illness and emergency health care. The cover also included the inpatient care that will cover medical and surgical services. It will also include treatment and medical care of tuberculosis, malaria and HIV.

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