Kisumu ready to launch Universal Health Coverage

The county government is laying the foundation for the launch of a pilot phase of universal health coverage (UHC) next month. Deputy Governor Mathews Owili yesterday said President Uhuru Kenyatta would preside over the August 9 free healthcare programme rollout, which is expected to benefit 1.2 million residents. ALSO READ: Hospital stuck with unidentified patient Dr Owili said they were closely working with Pharm Access, the National Health Insurance Fund and the State Department of Health and Sanitation.

“We are currently mapping our facilities with an eye of establishing whether they are sufficiently equipped and staffed for the rolling out of universal healthcare,” he said.

“We need to have availability of human resources, equipment as well as pharmaceuticals and non-pharmaceutical commodity.” The partners, he said, were helping the county identify gaps in the healthcare system“so that we can fill them to the best of our ability by the time of the launch.” Isiolo, Machakos and Nyeri are also piloting the free healthcare scheme, which, if successful, is expected to trickle down to the other 43 counties by the end of the financial year in June next year. Health Executive Rosemary Obara said Sh50 million had been set aside to equip the hospitals and strengthen the referral system while at least Sh30 billion worth of medical equipment donated to Kisumu by the World Medical Relief, which was expected to boost the county's UHC ambitions, was on the high seas.

“Our analysis show that we are understaffed and we are working with both the county and national governments to hire 800 technical and supportive staff for the UHC,” Obara said.

The county, she added, was fast-tracking the completion of pending healthcare facility projects to meet UHC requirements of working health dispensaries for 5,000 residents. The UHC will include preventative, curative and rehabilitative care as well as health promotion.

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