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Govt committed to enhancing primary healthcare

Health Cabinet Secretary Dr. Susan Nakhumicha has reiterated the government’s commitment to enhancing primary healthcare across the country.

Speaking during inspection tours of various health facilities in West Pokot County on Friday, Nakhumicha noted that as the country gears towards ensuring universal healthcare, there is a need to empower community health promoters to enhance preventive healthcare across the country.

“We do not need to always visit health facilities because diseases can be prevented. This can be realised by ensuring that there is adequate health promotion at the very local levels,” said the CS.

She said the Kenya Kwanza administration, under the leadership of President William Ruto, is keen on improving the health sector by ensuring that health facilities at the local level provide primary health services without fail.

The CS observed that every Kenyan, irrespective of their economic status, has the right to access proper medical attention whenever they are in need of it.

Nakhumicha, however, expressed regret that some facilities visited were grappling with acute understaffing and insufficient drug supplies and challenged the county government to prioritise health in their budgets.

She noted during the tour that in one facility visited, there was only one health staff member attending to almost all health services, calling on the county government to consider recruiting enough staff.

“In the course of this tour, I have noticed that in some facilities, health services are being administered by a single individual who acts as a clinician, a nurse, and at the same time as a pharmacist. This is wanting, and the county health department should urgently look into this,” she said.

The CS announced that in October, the government will officially launch a programme for community health promoters to help in health status assessment and the provision of primary health care across the country.

“The government, whose foundation is on a Bottom-Up model, wishes to know the status of all the health facilities and how service delivery can be improved. This will go a long way in helping the government know how much to invest in the improvement of healthcare in the country,” said the CS.

Nakhumicha explained that the work of the community health promoters will entail home visits and compiling the health status of the households’ occupiers, along with administering primary healthcare such as giving out water treatment tablets and other basic healthcare services.

The CS directed the issuance of 20 beds and 20 mattresses to Keringet Health Centre in West Pokot Sub County after the assessment revealed an overstretched bed capacity.

“It is encouraging that the mothers in this region have realised the value of hospital deliveries as opposed to home deliveries. However, the condition of the maternity wing needs improvement, which is why I promise to donate 20 beds and 20 mattresses to that effect,” said Nakhumicha.

The CS said the national government is committed to partnering with the county governments to ensure the health docket provides proper health services to every individual.

“The national government has no qualms in supporting the county governments in acquiring medical supplies. What you only need to do is bring your health equipment needs to our office for consideration under the National Equipment Support to Counties (NESC) programme due to be launched,” Nakhumicha said.

The County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Health and Sanitation, Ms. Claire Parklea, accompanied by Deputy Governor Mr. Robert Komolle, appealed to the national government to come to the aid of the county government for the establishment of an oxygen plant and the acquisition of dialysis beds since the number of patients has outstripped the current bed capacity.

By Richard Muhambe

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