NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 4 – The Council of Governors (CoG) working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health is set to roll out the establishment of four cancer hospitals by May 2018.
In addition, 21 hospitals will be equipped to increase the number of kidney health centres under the Managed Equipment Services project.
The joint initiative between the two levels of government is in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda which highlights affordable healthcare as a key delivery area.
The initiative will ensure, according to the CoG, that 51.6 million Kenyans access affordable healthcare by the year 2022.
In a statement issued following a full council meeting on Tuesday, CoG Chairperson Josphat Nanok also indicated county governments were working towards the realization of Universal Health Care.
“In view of the President’s agenda to provide Universal Health Care (UHC) for all citizens of Kenya, the CoG Committee on Health in partnership with the Ministry of Health, National Housing and Insurance Fund (NHIF) and the World Bank has developed a four-year plan with regards to the implementation and attainment of Universal Health Care,” Nanok said.
The council identified three pillars through which it would support the national government in its quest to attain UHC.
“Counties will, therefore, partner with the National Government to fast-track the gazettement of facilities within their jurisdiction to enable NHIF accreditation,” the CoG Chairperson indicated.
The three broad areas include expansion of health insurance by upscaling community-based insurance, strengthening primary healthcare through the increase of human resource, and financial inclusion through tax-based financing.
CoG’s proposed approach for the implementation of UHC will target coverage of the elderly, persons living with extreme disability, children under the age of 5 years, pregnant women and all high school students.
NHIF coverage for all students in secondary schools was rolled out in January this year, following a directive by President Kenyatta on December 20.
During his second inauguration on November 28, 2017, President Kenyatta had promised to work towards attaining 100 per cent UHC by increasing the number of beneficiaries of NHIF medical cover from 6.8 million at the time to 13 million by the year 2022.
“This vision will be driven by a complete reconfiguration of the NHIF and reform of the laws governing private insurance companies,” he said.
During Tuesday’s CoG meeting, county chiefs resolved to lobby for the piloting of Universal Healthcare Project in all the 47 counties in order to ensure a joint im0plementation of UHC by both levels of government.
The council proposed the utilization of Sh 1.7 billion in all the counties as opposed to only four devolved units under the pilot phase.
Governors also recommended the front-loading of Sh 3 billion in fifth-year funds for purposes of transforming the healthcare system countrywide.
The county heads also proposed the incorporation of non-communicable diseases under the NHIF medical cover.
CoG also reviewed gains made out of a recent State Visit to Cuba by President Kenyatta.
The governors welcomed importation of 100 specialized doctors from Cuba to work in two national and referral hospitals and selected county hospitals with the devolved governments set to sign an MOU to operationalize their working beginning June 2018.
“The doctors will train County Health Workers on malaria vector control and on the management of HIV, Hepatitis, and Diabetes,” Nanok said.
Additionally, Nanok said the Ministry of Health will sponsor 50 doctors across all Counties for two-year training in Cuba majorly on family care.