County launches Sh100M UHC program

The Kiambu government has launched a Sh100 million universal healthcare program that will see the devolved unit place its residents in a health cover for guaranteed accessibility and affordability of healthcare.

The program will see the Governor Kimani Wamatangi-led regional government place at least one million people under a health insurance scheme, whereby, the county government will pay National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) subscription to the less privileged families as a way of tackling vulnerabilities and inequalities that affect the health status.
In conjunction with NHIF, the devolved unit this weekend rolled out a mass registration exercise across all the twelve sub counties to ensure the program succeeds, even as he challenged NHIF to ensure timely reimbursement of funds to public facilities.

Further, to ensure the program becomes effective, Mr Wamatangi announced that his administration was rehabilitating failed hospital equipment, and acquiring new ones to ensure all 128 facilities have the capacity to provide healthcare. Nine new dispensaries will also be constructed starting January next year to ensure all the 60 wards have at least one dispensary each, while completion of Githunguri and Wangige hospitals whose construction had been affected by non-payment of bills by the previous administration.

“We want to ensure that beside putting all our people in a health insurance scheme, whereby the county will help the vulnerable people by paying for the Sh500 monthly NHIF subscriptions, we will ensure all our facilities are in good condition, have the necessary equipment and are stocked with the needed drugs, and proper system is now in place to ensure there will be no shortage. This will guarantee provision of affordable, accessible and sustainable medical cover by the county government,” Mr Wamatangi said.

The governor added: “This will also ensure that all people access the needed health services of sufficient quality and experience financial risk protection. We have built trust with all the stakeholders to ensure that as a county we achieve this.”

Kiambu branch NHIF manager Ms Winnie Mbugua told the Nation that Kiambu County has only registered 32 percent of households with NHIF, saying there are over 400,000 households that have not registered.

Ms Mbugua said the partnership with the county to the mass registration of NHIF, will help in covering a bigger population, and ensure residents enjoy the Universal Health Coverage seamlessly .

To ensure that the UHC program succeeds, the governor announced that his administration is improving all its facilities that have been grappling with congestion, broken down equipment and acute shortage of drugs to be ready for any needed services.

Already, the county has embarked on a program to operationalize all the Intensive Care Units in Gatundu Level Five, Kiambu Level Five and Tigoni hospitals which have been unfunctional despite having been completed and fully equipped with facilities.

Further, the county’s health department is rehabilitating grounded ambulances and is in the process of acquiring new ones after the governor ordered termination of a costly leasing program after a preliminary audit revealed that it was not giving the health sector value for money.
The county has also struck an arrangement with Kenya Medical Suppliers Authority (Kemsa), to ensure drugs are delivered in hospitals before the stock is depleted. Currently, Sh60 million drugs are being delivered to the county facilities.

His administration, he said, will leverage on the existence of community health workers, who ordered they be motivated by payment of their pending allowances.
“We are developing community health strategies through improved collaboration between public health services, communities, and civil society organizations. This will help in scaling up risk communication and community engagement as a key component of people-centered health systems,” he added.