Irene Githinji and PSCU @PeopleDailyKe
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday presided over the deployment of Cuban doctors to the counties as the government launched a campaign to see at least 400,000 children immunised in the next 100 days.
Uhuru presided over the start of a 100-day Accelerated National Immunisation Campaign, aimed at raising the immunisation coverage which has gone done to the national target of 90 per cent.
Running under the theme ‘Every Child Counts’, the campaign is part of the government’s renewed approach to healthcare provision.
It also aims at offering preventive services, immunisation programmes, provision of adequate medical equipment and other forms of primary medicine key interventions.
Uhuru emphasised on the importance of immunisation saying it serves as a key aspect towards realisation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for Kenya in addition to promoting children’s health.
“The failure to immunise children will not only undermine their health and human dignity but will also cause national risks such as disease outbreaks. I am pleased to launch the initiative on child immunisation which will increase the number of children that are immunised against killer diseases,” said Uhuru.
During the twin function at the Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) depot in Embakasi, Nairobi, the President has since urged the ministries of Education and Health to work closely with counties in putting up measures that ensure children are vaccinated by the time they join school.
Uhuru urged Kenyans to support the 100 Cuban doctors as they officially commence duty in counties.
He said local specialists are few yet the services are in high demand, a situation that led to the signing of bilateral agreement with the Cuban government even as he hailed the arrangement that seeks to immensely benefit the health sector.
Uhuru said the coming in of the doctors will go a long way in as far as the bilateral agreement between Kenya and Cuba is concerned and consequently, enhance collaboration of the two countries and will in turn build capacity for the local specialists.
The doctor-patient ratio is currently estimated at 1:16,000, which he said remain an obstacle towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.
“We call upon all Kenyans to embrace and support the Cuban doctors as they would their brothers and sisters. Local specialists are few and far between, yet their services are in high demand in the country,” said the President.
“Feel at home. This is your home, we thank you for commitment and service as it forms a foundation of partnership between the two countries. Let us embrace and support them,” he told the doctors.
The President said the Cuban doctors are specialising in cardiology, nephrology and neurosurgery, amongst other specialisations and are now ready to move to the counties to deliver the much-needed services to Kenyans.
Also present was Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki, who said the immunisation programme worth Sh2.1 billion serves as a great journey towards UHC.
A variety of medical equipment were also flagged off to counties to ensure a wider access to children in all corners of the country.