Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Home > Counties > Both Governments ready to roll out Universal Health Coverage

Both Governments ready to roll out Universal Health Coverage

The National Government and the 47 County Governments have agreed to roll the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country with immediate effect.

In an agreement signed between the two levels of governments, National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) will now be reformed to a Social Health Insurance Fund (SIF) through a thorough process of stakeholder engagement.

In the new arrangement, the funding for Level One, Two and Three facilities will be financed through a public financed mechanism and individual capitation, while Level four and Five Hospitals will be financed through Social Health Insurance. Further, Level Six will be financed through a critical illness fund and Social Health Insurance.

The joint Communique was read by Council of Governors (COG) chair Ms. Ann Waiguru at the end of two day meeting in Naivasha on Thursday, whose aim was to review the intergovernmental relations and engagements between the two levels of Governments with a critical focus on the Health and Social Protection Sectors

Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Susan Nakhumicha Wafula said after the two day sensitization of the Governors and the County Executive Committee Members (CECM) in charge of health, they were now ready to roll out the UHC in earnest.

She said her ministry on behalf of the National Government and the counties had signed the Inter-Governmental Participatory Agreement (IPAs) and her ministry has been given a go ahead to enter into service level agreement with county governments to ensure services are provided at county levels. UHC was a key component of the Kenya Kwanza manifesto.

To this end, the CS said the IPAs has solved the impasse between the national and the county governments that had been brought about by the earlier system known as Medical Equipment Management Service (MEMS) which has now been replaced by National Equipment Support (NES) to counties.

MEMS has been unpopular with governors as they perceived it as not  adequately involved in its acquisition and came along with challenges such as lack of manpower to operate the equipment.

The purpose of the two day meeting was to find ways to strengthen Health Sector-specific Intergovernmental collaboration and address emerging issues which include; Community Health Promoters (CHPs), Operationalization of Primary Healthcare Networks (PCNs), Sustainability of UHC, Medical Equipment and related Services deployed by the National Government in Counties, NHIF reforms, among others.

It was further intended to enhance a greater common understanding of Social Protection by both levels of Government. This includes the role of County Governments in social protection, financing social protection interventions, opportunities for County Governments in the social protection ecosystem; and give the Council of Governors updates on the just concluded exercise of unbundling of functions.

The forum brought together Governors, the leadership of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, County Executive Committee Members in charge of Health and Development Partners

Waiguru said the two levels of Government had agreed to jointly facilitate the payment of stipends to CHPs. Additionally, the Community Promoters would be provided with a kit that will enhance medical response at the Community level which the Ministry of Health will replenish after every three years.

The COG chair who is also the Kirinyaga Governor said operationalization of Primary Healthcare Networks (PCNs) model has been agreed upon by the COG and the Ministry of Health and the financing model would be agreed upon by the two levels of Government at a later date.

She noted that a joint facility assessment would be undertaken across the Country to inform the number of primary networks to be established in the counties.

She noted that the Facility Improvement Financing (FIF), the model bill developed by the Council of Governors, Ministry of Health and Health Policy stakeholders, has been passed in 27 Counties and it has been agreed that COG will sensitize the remaining 20 County Assemblies to fast-track the passage of the bill in the next two (2) months.

On social protection, Waiguru said the two levels of Government had agreed that a technical team comprising the Council of Governors, State Department for Social Protection, United Nations Children`s Education Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP) and sector partners shall convene to establish a framework to institutionalize Social Protection programmes at the County level.

Tharaka – Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki who is in charge of health at COG welcomed the new National Equipment Support (NES) saying the counties will now concentrate on providing services as the national Government provides equipment.

By Mabel Keya – Shikuku

Leave a Reply