KENYA – Kajiado County in Kenya has launched the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) program to boost accessible and affordable quality health care for the people.

The move 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 Kisumu, Isiolo, Machakos and Nyeri counties in 2018.

UHC is one of the Big Four agenda declared by President Kenyatta which will see major policy as well as administrative reforms in the health sector to allow all Kenyans access to quality and affordable medical coverage.

Kajiado Governor Joseph Lenku noted that the UHC roll-out will ease access to health services by all residents without risking their financial hardship especially those from vulnerable backgrounds.

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.

The Health Department has benefited from an increased budgetary allocation from KES 2 billion (US$18m) in 2017/2018 financial year to the current KES 2.6 billion (US$23m),” he confirmed.

He said that his administration has allocated resources towards financing the Kajiado County UHC programme with major focus on supporting 146,000 vulnerable households within the next 5 years in a phased approach.

In addition, Kajiado County in partnership with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) will ensure 24,273 households are 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,” he outlined.

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.

The beneficiaries will have access health services such as communicable and non-communicable disease management, substance abuse rehabilitation, emergency services, cancer treatment to name but a few.

Our main hospitals are now offering specialized services which were only available in Nairobi County,” he reaffirmed.

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.

The Kajiado Referral Hospital currently has 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,” Joseph Lenku added.

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

The County Government has upgraded and expanded 42 health facilities, employed over 300 new staff, strengthened referral systems as well as ensured essential supplies and medicines are available,” he maintained.

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

“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,” Dr. Kamunyo said.

Dr. Kamunyo observed that there were 122,689 new subscriptions to the NHIF scheme in Kajiado County since 2018 and 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.

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