The full rollout of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the remaining 43 counties after the pilot phase in four counties will take place in the current, 2019/2020 financial year, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
The President said the pilot phase was a success noting there was a recorded average increase of 39 percent in access to essential health services in the pilot counties of Nyeri, Kisumu, Isiolo and Machakos.
“We are on course for the full roll-out of the universal health coverage in the year 2019/2020 where we expect to cover the remaining 43 counties in our country.
“Indeed, the lessons from the pilot affirm that a robust primary healthcare system is the vehicle to secure sustainable Universal Health Coverage in our country,” the President said.
President Kenyatta spoke on Wednesday in Thika, Kiambu County where he witnessed the handing over and opening of an outpatient block funded by the Japanese government at a cost of Shs 8 million at the Catholic Church-owned Mang’u Dispensary.
The Head of State said the UHC pillar of the Big 4 Agenda was crafted in recognition of the importance of a healthy population in the achievement of the country’s development targets.
“In recognition of the importance of health amongst our population in the realization of our development agenda, we therefore, also chose to prioritize Universal Healthcare as a key pillar of to our “Big Four” strategy,” the President said.
He thanked the Catholic Church and the Government of Japan for complementing the Kenya government’s efforts by taking healthcare services closer to Kenyans.
“I also call upon other development partners to join hands with us in our development agenda, especially that of achieving our aspiration of scaling up Universal Health Coverage in the coming weeks,” the President said.
The Head of State expressed the need for all stakeholders to work together and rally behind the “leave no one behind” clarion call to cushion the most vulnerable from the high cost of healthcare.
He stressed the need for timely and prompt payments by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) so as to enable hospitals and other health providers to continue providing quality and responsive services.
Noting that the Japanese government used only Shs 8 million to put up the outpatient block that serves 30 to 50 people daily, the President wondered where the close to Shs 70 billion of devolved and CDF funds go every year.
“If you compare the Shs 70 billion allocated to the devolved units and to MPs through CDF annually and what has been used here, it means that every year if we utilised our funds prudently we would have been able to put up 7,000 dispensaries across the country,” the President said.
He stressed that he had no problem with politicians oversighting development projects in their areas but insisted on the need for prudent application of public resources.
On the report of the Building Bridges Initiative, the President Kenyatta reiterated his call to Kenyans to read for themselves and make informed decisions.
Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Ryoichi Horie said health is the most important sector which the Japanese government considers and gives priority to in its overseas development assistance programmes.
Amb Ryoichi assured the President that his country will continue partnering with the Kenyan government and faith based organizations in implementing projects that have direct impact on the lives of Kenyans.
“The County of Kiambu has benefited from many projects under the different schemes by the Japanese government. And I promise you Cardinal and the local people here that we will continue to extend our assistance to you,” the ambassador said.
Cardinal John Njue thanked the Japanese government for its assistance, saying the new outpatient block will go a long way in helping the church to fulfill its mission of providing quality healthcare to Kenyans.
“We are committed to improving the service we provide. It is my hope that we can continue in this partnership for the benefit of the community,” Cardinal Njue said.
Also present were Health CS Sicily Kariuki and several national and local leaders from across Kiambu County.