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2, 000 to benefit from 2nd phase of Universal Health insurance subsidy

At least 2,000 poor and vulnerable households in Garissa County will benefit from the 2nd phase of the health insurance subsidy under the Universal Health Care scheme by the national government.

According to the county secretary Abdi Sheikh, the process of identifying the beneficiaries has started in earnest.

Speaking during a farewell party organized by Garissa medical staff for the out-going CEC for Health Ahmed Omar, Sheikh said the county government was liaising with the Department of Social Protection to identify the poor and vulnerable households for enlisting to the scheme.

In a letter to the county governments set to benefit from the programme, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said the national government is committed to fulfilling its constitutional obligation that guarantees all citizens the right of access to quality healthcare, including reproductive health and emergency treatment.

Universal Health Coverage has been implemented in a phased approach in the country.

The next phase of UHC scale up entails output-financing model, through a UHC scheme nested in NHIF. The beneficiaries of the scheme shall include among others the poor and vulnerable households, who shall be supported progressively through insurance subsidies, the letter read.

“The health sector through the Ministry of Health has undertaken numerous consultative engagements with Council of Governors (COG) secretariat, Health CECs, National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), Social Protection Secretariat in the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and partners working in health to harmonize the tool to be in identification of beneficiaries for the UHC scheme,” it added

Sheikh lauded the outgoing CEC for an outstanding performance noting that the administration under Governor Ali Korane has made tremendous achievements in the health sector in the past three years.

“Despite the financial crisis facing the Garissa referral hospital coupled with strikes by the health workers, the achievements made by the heath sector cannot be wished away,” Sheikh said.

The county secretary cited the construction of new dispensaries, upgrading and renovation of dispensaries in Garasweino, Baraki and Eldere as among ‘notable achievements’.

He also singled out the expansion of the outpatient units at the Garissa referral hospital, construction of warehouse at health headquarters, staff quarters at Abdisamat, Afya house and more across the county as gains made in infrastructural development.

Sheikh said the operationalization of the ICU, MRI and CT scan at County Referral under the current administration ‘will remain milestones for decades to come’.

He praised the CEC and the health personnel for exhibiting teamwork that saw more than 4,000 eye surgeries done to restore and improve eyesight and more ENT services offered at Referral Hospital and at sub-county level.

 The CS also mentioned the establishment of 5-year strategic plan, boost in blood donation and increased health indicators like immunization coverage from 55 per cent in 2017 to 75 percent currently.

This, he said, had established and enhanced partnership with key institutions like Aga Khan Hospital and Heart Attack Concern Kenya, Unicef, USAID among others.

Various health officials who spoke also praised the CEC for achieving an award won by the County for best performance in the presidential 100 days RRI immunization and recognition from the National government to select Garissa as the only county chosen to pilot primary health care modeling.

Garissa medical staff football team praised their outgoing CEC for initiating the football club to encourage regular participation in physical activities to promote physiological health benefits, teaching co-ordination and promoting teamwork.

On his part, Omar who has been moved to the education docket thanked the medical staff for their support towards ‘the achievement made in the sector’.

The incoming CEC Roble Nunow urged the medical personnel staff to extend the same support to him as the sector work towards the 5-year health strategic plan.

Roble said that the community health strategy bill and facility improvement fund bill is at an advanced stage and ‘will soon be actualized’.

By Jacob Songok

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