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Nairobi County strives to improve health facilities

Nairobi County Government is committed to investing in preventive and promotive health care in bid to address infant mortality rate in the county which stands at 55 deaths per 1000 live births.

Besides mortality rate, the county has also prioritized child malnutrition, low immunization rates and the rising levels of preventable diseases such as non-communicable diseases as areas it has identified as poor health indicators.

Dr. Thomas Ogaro, Head of Universal Health Coverage and Intergovernmental Coordination, attributed the high mortality rate to hemorrhage, abortion, obstructed labour, infections and HIV.

He said the Nairobi City County Health Sector Investment Plan 2013-2018 objective, is to provide quality health care services that are accessible, equitable and sustainable to the City resident and beyond.

Dr. Ogaro informed the Committee that the County has 17 health centres providing the Linda Mama service to expectant mothers, a service under the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) that targets mothers who are unable to pay health care services.

Briefing the Nairobi County Development Implementation Committee meeting chaired by County Commissioner (CC), Flora Mworoa, at the County Commissioners Boardroom, Nyayo House, on the progress of Universal Health Coverage in Nairobi on Wednesday, Dr. Ogaro told the committee that most Kenyans are not aware of the service, a need that requires NHIF to create awareness and sensitize the public and health care workers on the Linda Mama service.

“This service is not well done, a reason why some health facilities are not well utilized. Nurses also do not know what the service entails,” said Dr. Ogaro.

He told the Committee that was also attended by, Kinoti Gatobu, from the Presidential Delivery Unit, the Committee’s Secretary that Kenyans need to know that expectant mothers who do not have NHIF cards can access quality services free of charge and those who have paid for the services can be reimbursed.

Linda Mama Service launched in 2016 by NHIF, is a public funded health scheme that ensures expectant women and infants have access to quality and affordable health service, as per the Presidential directive in 2013 that led to the introduction of Free Maternity Services in all public health facilities. The directive also removed user fees in level 2 and level 3 the health facilities.

Linda Mama Service packages include ante-natal care, neo-natal care and post-natal care where children also receive preventive services like malaria prophylaxis, deworming and iron.

Regarding the priority areas for Universal Health Care in County, Dr. Ogaro informed the Committee that the City County has put in place seven referral centres and ambulances to enhance service delivery, as well as equipped Mama Lucy and Mbagathi hospitals with MRI digital X-ray and theatre machines. Mbagathi hospital has also been provided with a renal dialysis machine.

On improvement of Hygiene and Sanitation, Dr. Ogaro said the county is putting in place infrastructure to take care of medical health wastes in the facilities, and is currently painting Pumwani Maternity Hospital.

He singled out funding and lack of promotion for nurses as of the challenges facing the facilities.

“Money does not reach health centers and stagnation in one job group has demotivated nurses,” he said.

He told the committee that World Bank and Danida have also provided funding to counties to improve on service delivery on maternity service, family planning, theatre and infrastructure in health facilities.

Mworoa said the Committee will visit government funded projects and programmes in the County to ascertain if they serving the purpose they were intended for, noting that the government is committed that Kenyans benefit from the Big four Agenda progamme.

By  Benardette Khaduli

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