Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe says the policy of government is to ensure that health care is not only curative, but also preventive, rehabilitative, promotive, and is accessible to all Kenyans at an affordable cost.
He said health is not just about the coronavirus pandemic but also about other conditions that require different types of interventions.
Speaking in Kiambu County Thursday, the CS said this is the main objective of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which is a journey that has already piloted in four counties of Machakos, Nyeri, Isiolo and Kisumu, from which they have learnt many lessons and have now applied the lessons to scale up the program.
” We learnt that there is a need to strengthen Primary Health Care at the community units, dispensaries and Health centres. This is so that health care is brought nearer to the people and to free the higher level health facilities, such as the referral hospitals to deal with more complicated cases and reduce congestion.” Said the CS
To improve capacity, he said counties have been recruiting health care workers with Kiambu County already having recruited 64 out of 95 through the Public Service Commission Youth Empowerment Programme, that cuts across 21 cadres, and 138 skilled health workers.
“We are still awaiting the returns from the County on the same. Another additional
100 healthcare workers in 14 cadres are expected to be recruited by the Kiambu County Public Service Board. I would like to appeal to the County, through the Governor, for this recruitment process of the remaining healthcare workers, to be expedited, so that the people of Kiambu can benefit from these services.” He urged.
At the community Level, 1,171 out of 1,200 healthcare workers have been sensitized on UHC, which includes COVID -19 saying this is to boost the county’s health work force.
He said they are working towards ensuring that Kiambu County Government has essential medicines in its health facilities. Adding that under UHC, Kiambu County has been allocated Kshs. 216 million this financial year and the medicines are
undergoing final stages for dispatch.
” I encourage the County to place its next order, and to set up the Medicine
Therapeutic Committee, which will help in quantifying the needs for the future. The allocations are to supplement the County’s budget on medicines. I encourage the
County to spend its budget on essential medicines as well. ”
He said they were are also planning to place basic equipment in the facilities in the next financial year, so that basic tests, as well as emergency care for pregnant women can be performed.
He thanked the Kiambu County Government for all the efforts it has put into the UHC so far.
” We have learnt from the Countries that have implemented UHC successfully that their economies have grown, their citizens are living longer and have a good
quality of life. In Kenya, we can achieve this with the plans we are putting in place, which require individual cooperation. We should not wait to get sick, but instead
engage in activities that promote health, such as healthy eating, exercising and adopting appropriate health seeking behaviour. ”
He noted that infections were growing within the counties with thirty-two out of 47 counties, Kiambu included, so far recording cases of the disease.
“This number accounts for more than 60% of the counties affected. Kiambu County has recorded 39 cases, placing it at number 4 behind Nairobi (835), Mombasa (490) and Kajiado (65). This is a worrying trend, and we must collectively stop it by observing and practicing the containment measures that we continue to advocate for.” He noted.
“Due to your proximity to Nairobi, which is the most affected county, the number of infections would have been higher. However, the collaboration between the people of Kiambu and the County Government have managed to limit the spread of infections. I must caution that Kiambu, being the fourth County in terms of infections, you must never let your guard down. “Added the CS.
Universal Health coverage is a healthcare system in which all residents of a particular country or region are assured of access to healthcare. UHC answers to Sustainable Development Goal number three which is Good Health and Well-being.
The CS also called on Kenyans to register for the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) noting that it is through contribution to the fund that the government can ensure accessible healthcare to all.
” The Government’s agenda is to make health care more affordable for the common mwananchi. To achieve this, we have embarked on reforming the National
Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), so that it can serve Kenyans better. I want to appeal to Kenyans to register with the Fund and also diligently contribute monthly.”
At the same time, he encouraged people to visit health facilities for treatment of other ailments, as medical institutions are operating normally.
“We have actually set up special health facilities to deal with Coronavirus, and therefore there is no need to be afraid that one will contract the virus.”