Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika has vowed to enhance health services and ensure proper functionality of all public healthcare facilities in the County by improving terms of employment and working conditions of health workers across all cadres.
Kihika has given an undertaking that the workers, who include clinical officers, nurses and occupational therapists, among other cadres, who have been serving on contract, will be employed on permanent and pensionable terms.
The Governor also bore good news for the Community Health Volunteers (CHV) following her announcement that the County Government will henceforth pay them a monthly stipend of 5,000 per month with future adjustments upwards guided by resource availability and inflation.
She also announced plans to recruit more nurses, clinical officers and doctors to boost health service delivery in the county adding that the health sector is the most vital aspect of life which her administration will focus more on.
“Additional health workers will be recruited to progressively achieve staffing norms and standards and reduce the service delivery time.
Healthcare workers due for promotions and re-designation will be promoted and re-designated and adequate budget will be allocated to ensure timely promotions in future,” stated the Governor.
Highlighting her development agenda to the residents; the county boss promised to oversee establishment of a training fund that will be accessible to all health workers seeking to pursue higher diplomas, degrees, and master’s specialization programs.
She stressed that her first move will be to ensure constant availability of drugs in the county hospitals while at the same time lauding healthcare workers for their efforts despite challenges they had to face while administering services to patients.
“The county will provide an adequate budget for the procurement of drugs and essential medical supplies. We will prioritize completion and equipping of all stalled health projects,” she said.
“I want to thank all the healthcare workers who have been working so hard to ensure that our people receive medical attention despite numerous challenges,” she said.
Kihika moved quickly to assure residents that existing training collaboration with the Ministry of Health initiated by her predecessor Mr Lee Kinyanjui’s administration for health workers will continue to be supported to ensure the county has all the required specialties.
She further indicated that her administration will continue operationalization of the hospital management facility improvement fund while at the same time working with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the donor community to secure funding for primary health care facilities.
However, the governor indicated that all these will not be achieved in one day and that the residents must be patient and give her administration enough time to implement the health reforms.
Kihika revealed that she intends to organize into support groups all patients with non-communicable ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney failure and cancer to enhance service delivery and streamline access to drugs and care.
“All sub-county hospitals will be equipped with dedicated youth-friendly centers and will have palliative care services to ease access to services and drugs,” she said.
“The county will establish an ambulance services unit to streamline and enhance equitable access to ambulatory care across the county and ensure free ambulatory services for maternal and emergency care,” added the governor.
She pledged to work with the national government to ensure universal health access through the Nakuru Medicare card and universal access to National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover with the aim of eliminating out of pocket expenditure for all citizens in Nakuru, as a short term measure.
She undertook to ensure that all persons aged over 65 years, Persons Living with Disabilities and orphans are registered to ensure free access of health services in all public health facilities.
Ms Kihika reiterated her plans to upgrade all sub-county hospitals to level five hospitals with adequate bed capacity in all wards to avoid sharing of beds and establishment of adequate number of maternity facilities by expanding and upgrading existing health facilities and developing new health facilities with maternal services.
The county, she noted, will develop, through public-private initiative, a level 4 hospital in Nakuru to offer dedicated services to all public servants, both county and national, the disciplined forces, provincial administration and community health workers.
The county she added will work with NHIF and other private insurance firms to ensure there will be no out-of-pocket expenses when services are sought at this hospital.
“The county will develop a robust health management structure by strengthening the sub-county management and the hospital management teams by ensuring adequate funding and operations autonomy with proper supervision from the county management team,” she reiterated.
She said the hospital boards of management will be constituted within the community of serves to ensure ownership by the community and participation in decision making.
Kihika said the county will deploy a robust ICT system to manage patients in health facilities, drugs and essential medical supplies and ensure transparency in resource utilization.
She said the county will also collaborate with National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse, to curb illicit brews and eliminate drug and substance abuse and also provide rehabilitation centers for addicts.
By Jane Ngugi and Charloth Chepkemoi