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Kajiado launches Universal Health Coverage

The Kajiado County Government has launched the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) program aimed at realization of accessible and affordable quality health care.

This follows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s launch of the National scale up of the UHC program in all counties in February 2022, after a successful pilot program in four selected counties; Kisumu, Isiolo, Machakos and Nyeri in 2018.

Speaking in Kajiado town during the launch, Governor Joseph Lenku noted that the UHC roll-out will finally ease access to health services by all residents, especially those from vulnerable backgrounds.

Lenku said UHC is one of the ‘Big Four’ agenda declared by President Kenyatta, which will see major policy and administrative reforms in the health sector, allowing all Kenyans access to quality and affordable medical coverage.

The Governor revealed that his administration was committed to providing quality and affordable health care to all residents through the UHC program by allocating more resources to the health department.

He noted that the Health Department had benefited from an increased budgetary allocation from Sh 2 billion in 2017/2018 financial year to the current Sh 2.6 billion.

“My administration has allocated resources towards financing the Kajiado County Universal Health Coverage programme. Through this financing, my government’s focus will be in supporting 146,000 Vulnerable Households within the next 5 years in a phased approach,” he said.

He emphasized his administration’s commitment to ensure all facilities across Kajiado remain adequately staffed, equipped and fully stocked with drugs as a prerequisite for the UHC program.

“We have upgraded and expanded 42 health facilities, employed over 300 new staff, strengthened our referral systems, as well as ensured essential supplies and medicines are available,” said the Governor.

Lenku added that in partnership with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), 24,273 households will be covered in the first phase of UHC acceleration.

The households will benefit from essential health benefits packages and will be able to access outpatient and inpatient services.

The beneficiaries have access to communicable and non-communicable disease management, maternity, dialysis, radiology, mental health, minor and major surgery, substance abuse rehabilitation, emergency services and cancer treatment.

He further called on locals to register with NHIF and ensure that their subscriptions are up to date so as to benefit from specialized services which were now being offered at the county hospitals.

“Our main hospitals are now offering specialized services which were only available in Nairobi. At the Kajiado Referral Hospital, we now have a modern MRI and CT scan, a 6-bed renal unit, specialized laboratory Unit, 2 new theatre units, a blood satellite bank, an ICU facility and a cancer clinic unit” said the Governor.

Some of the specialized services which have been introduced in the local public hospitals include: Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT), general surgery, gynecology, mental health, nephrology, general physician, pediatric and dental services, maxillofacial, ophthalmology among others.

NHIF Chief Executive Officer Dr. Peter Kamunyo reiterated the importance of registering with the health insurer so as to access quality affordable health care.

He noted that many families who have not enrolled with NHIF have had to sell their property or hold fundraisings in order to off-set medical bills which would have otherwise been sorted by the insurer.

Noting that there are 122,689 new subscriptions to the NHIF scheme in Kajiado County since 2018, Dr. Kamunyo urged the locals to register with the national health insurer so as to scale up the UHC program.

He added that UHC will ensure all Kenyans have access to preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services at minimum financial costs.

By Rop Janet

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