KIJABE, Kenya, Oct 9 – The Government will strengthen the capacity of church sponsored hospitals to provide quality services by deploying medical staff, President Mwai Kibaki has said.,
President Kibaki said this was in recognition of the pivotal role that religious organisations have continued to play in the provision of quality healthcare and training of medical professionals in the country.
The President who spoke on Friday when he officially opened the \’Nine Theatre Complex Project\’ at the renowned AIC Kijabe Hospital directed the relevant ministry to post two government doctors to the institution to boost its capacity in dealing with the ever increasing number of patients.
He underscored the need for the government and private sector to nurture close relations in the provision of quality health care services in the country and saying that such a partnership was the best way to leverage the available scarce resources for an effective and efficient health care system.
The Head of State encouraged the private sector particularly, faith based and non-governmental organisations to join hands with the government in developing a vibrant healthcare system which is not only affordable, accessible but of high quality.
The President applauded the AIC Church for its remarkable contribution in providing health services to wananchi noting that Kijabe Hospital was one of the largest health facilities within the AIC fraternity.
Said the President: "I would like to once again commend the AIC Church for their commitment to the well being of the Kenyan people. I also commend the Church partners for their generous contribution to the welfare of Kenyans and humanity at large."
The Head of State also affirmed the Government\’s commitment to strengthen the health sector through increased financial allocations, streamlining financial management, improving supply of medical materials as well as through expansion of existing health facilities.
"In order to meet the health related millennium development goals as well as our national development targets as envisaged in Vision 2030, my Government has paid particular attention to strengthening the health sector," he assured.
President Kibaki appreciated the laudable progress so far achieved in the health sector especially with regard to substantial reduction in both maternal and child mortality rates.
"Currently, the infant mortality rate stands at 52 deaths per 1,000 live births. The under five mortality rate is at 74 deaths per 1,000 live births. This is an improvement compared to the previous mortality rates of 77 deaths per 1,000 live births and an under five mortality of 115 deaths per 1,000 live births. We have also made substantial gains in reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis," said the President.
The Head of State, however, noted that much needed to be done to ensure Kenyans accessed quality and affordable medical care and appealed to development partners to support government meet its health targets.
"The key challenge we are facing is lack of adequate financial resources to cater for all aspects of health care. My Government has continued to increase the financial allocations to the health sector. In the current financial year, for example, the health sector has been allocated Sh55 billion. But these resources are still inadequate. We are still far from the Abuja Commitment of allocating at least 15 percent of the national budget to the health sector," he said.
The President at the same time said the Government would pay the outstanding bill of Sh2.1 million which was incurred by the victims of Kiambaa Church fire during the post election violence noting that the Government will always be ready to help in alleviating the challenges affecting its citizens.
The Head of State also agreed to the request put forward by the hospital administration of exempt duty on the importation of medical equipment to enable the health institution acquire modern medical equipment.
The President, however, advised the administration to always specify the kind of equipment they wanted duty waiver so as to avoid abuse of the privilege.
On the reconstruction of the 5km Gichiengo-Kijabe Road and the tarmacking of Kijabe-Mai Mahiu, President Kibaki said the Government would look for funds to improve the said roads.
The President thanked various organisations that contributed towards the completion of the ultramodern theatre complex among them Samaritan\’s Purse, Bethany Relief and Rehabilitation International, Cavadas Foundation of Spain and the Australian Government.