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UHC agenda takes shape with endorsement of legal framework

The Universal Healthcare Coverage agenda is set to receive impetus with the expected signing into law of four bills viewed as integral in the advancement of the government’s healthcare plan.

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha says President William Ruto will assent to the Social Health Insurance Bill, Digital Health Bill, Primary Healthcare Bill and the Facility Improvement Bill by Thursday following their endorsement by parliament.

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“At the cabinet level, we have formulated four bills which have gone through both houses of parliament with the national assembly endorsing two bills on Tuesday morning. The President will assent to the four bills by Thursday” said Nakhumicha.

The proposed Primary Health Care Bill will provide a framework for the effective delivery and management of primary healthcare services using Primary Healthcare Networks (PCNs) and Community Health Units while delineating the roles of all stakeholders in the provision of primary health care services across the country.

The Bill also seeks to entrench the role of the Community Health Promoters in the provision of community based Primary Healthcare Services.

Further, the Facility Improvement Financing Bill will provide for an efficient, secure and accountable mechanism for the collection, retention and management of revenue derived from health services, whereas the Digital Health Bill will develop, operationalise and maintain the Comprehensive Integrated Management Information System, to manage the core digital systems and the infrastructure required for its seamless health information exchange.

Speaking during the ongoing UHC conference in Kericho County, Nakhumicha said the government plans to kick-start the healthcare plan with the establishment of the Social Health Authority and the Social Health Insurance.

The Authority according to the CS, will provide for financing at the primary level with the Social Health Insurance on-boarding Kenyans.  The premiums will be capped at 2.75 percent of household earnings with the maximum being 5,000 shillings.

According to Nakhumicha, while the constitution provides that every Kenyan has a right to emergency healthcare, it has failed to specify mechanisms on how the provision will be realised, a challenge she says the government is working to address through the creation of the chronic illness fund.

The fund is expected to take care of those involved in accidents, ensuring they receive prompt medical care and support as well as cushioning those with critical illnesses and non-communicable diseases requiring lifetime medical care, from financial hardships.

The ongoing conference comes ahead of the Mashujaa day celebrations set to be presided over by President William Ruto at the Kericho Green stadium, with the UHC agenda set to take center stage.


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