President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday launched the construction of the Kenya National Referral and Research Hospital (KNRRH), a top-tier military health facility that will provide specialized services to the security sector agencies and the general public.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony held at the Kabete Army Barracks in Nairobi County, the President said the construction of the 700-bed capacity level six hospital is part of sustained Government efforts to attain the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) pillar of the Big 4 development blueprint.
“This level 6 hospital will cater for the needs of all men and women working in our security agencies. It is indeed a proud day for our country, for our security agencies given that this is the first project of this magnitude that has been done since the Armed Forces Memorial Hospital was done in the early 1970s,” the President said.
The Head of State said the new hospital is a landmark undertaking that will provide quality medical care for Kenya’s security personnel exposed to danger while protecting the country’s borders, her citizens and their property.
“This is yet another milestone in ensuring that those of you who put your lives on line and in danger to protect your fellow citizens are assured of the best possible medical care that can possibly be given,” he said.
As part of efforts to achieve the Big 4 Agenda’s UHC pillar, the President said the Government was rolling out new health facilities and expanding existing ones across the country.
“Very soon we will be opening some additional hospitals here in Nairobi to cater for our informal settlements. We are upgrading our various hospitals-KNH, MTRH, building new hospitals at KU as well as a number of other hospital facilities that we shall be opening across the country to ensure that our people have access to healthcare which I believe is a foundation of a sound health secure and prosperous nation,” he said.
Further, the Head of State announced a Government plan to open several other health facilities for the Kenya Defence Forces developed to serve frontline security personnel across the country.
“Very soon I will be opening a level four facility in Kahawa, and another one in Isiolo. We will begin work very soon, once Kahawa is done, to upgrade the Forces Memorial Hospital to a level five. We are proceeding to develop facilities in Eldoret, Garissa, Manda, Lamu, and other areas so that we ensure that those of you who are out there on the frontline are able to access quality healthcare closer to where you serve,” the President said.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Dr Monica Juma said the new hospital will not only add to the President’s growing list of legacy projects but also help in the improvement of the health sector thereby enhancing the nation’s productivity.
“I express our gratitude for your strategic vision in conceiving this project. Within the security service, the most important asset are the people, it is the human capacity and this level six hospital will go a long way to ensure that our forces across the security sector are ready to deliver on the constitutional mandate to protect the territorial integrity of this nation and to provide security for our citizens,” Dr Juma said.
Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi said the completion of the hospital will contribute immensely to the wellbeing of the country’s security personnel by providing specialised medical services.
“We are very grateful because this particular initiative was conceptualized by yourself, you directed that this must be able to serve the entire security sector,” General Kibochi thanked the President who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, his Interior counterpart Dr Fred Matiang’i, and Head of Public Service Dr Joseph Kinyua also attended the ground breaking ceremony.