Thousands of Kitui residents had a reason to smile on Tuesday after Governor Charity Ngilu launched an affordable health insurance that will take care of about 270,000 households.
Following the launch at Katulani Level 4 Hospital, Kitui entered the history books as the second county after Makueni to offer her residents subsidised healthcare in the country.
Residents will only pay an annual subscription fee of Sh1,000 to benefit from various services offered by the county government through the programme in its Level 4 hospitals and 56 other health centres.
Ngilu said the programme will revolutionise the local health sector and ensure residents have access to high quality health services. “I decided to prioritise the health sector in my agenda because all development is hugely dependent on the health of our people,” she said.
Kitui County Health Insurance Cover (KCHIC) includes 24-hour ambulance services and medical referrals within the county, inpatient bills up to 24 hours after the discharge date of a patient and mortuary services of up to seven days.
Health Cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki said Kitui had made a huge step ahead in the provision of affordable health services in the country.
“I want to assure you of my total commitment and that of my ministry in the implementation of this programme,” she said.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka said the launch of KCHIC was an important milestone in the struggle to attain a social health insurance scheme in the country that will ensure all citizens enjoy quality healthcare.
“I want to declare myself a guarantor of this great initiative in my home county,” he said.
Reading Nasa leader Raila Odinga’s speech, Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o traced the journey of universal health care in the country back to 2002 when the Narc government took over power from retired President Moi.
Deputy Governor Wathe Nzau, Kitui county commissioner Samuel Kimiti and Kennedy Musyoka (Eala MP), among others attended the event.