Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
The government requires Sh34 billion to roll out Universal Health Care (UHC) plan, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has said.
Speaking when she appeared before the National Assembly Health committee, Kariuki, however, said the ministry has so far received Sh6.3 billion to rollout the plan next month in the four pilot counties of Kisumu, Nyeri, Isiolo and Machakos.
She told the lawmakers that her ministry is ready to roll out the programme that will go a long way in ensuring millions of Kenyans access quality medical care.
According to a study done across the country by the ministry, there is a lot of stock-outs and poor attitude among healthcare givers.
She, however, promised that her ministry will train medical workers to enhance their capacity in readiness for the rollout.
“We need Sh34 billion to rollout the programme, we have however received Sh6.3 billion and we are ready to launch the pilot project,”she said.
Kariuki also told the lawmakers that the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) will be restricted to ensure that the population is linked to the health facilities adding that evidence from countries that have implemented UHC such as Thailand, suggest that there is merit in piloting the project first, gather insights to inform the roll-out across the country.
She said the funds for the programme will not be sourced or taken from County government coffers but the funds already allocated for the UHC.
“The ministry is not going to use resources meant for counties. This will ensure that no county is disenfranchised in the sense that its resources are used to fund UHC in the selected counties,” she said.
UHC is part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda and is meant to ensure all Kenyans have access to quality healthcare.
Kariuki’s sentiments come at a time when President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to roll out the pilot project on December 1 that will benefit more than three million Kenyans in the four counties. The launch will coincide with the World Aids Day whose theme for this year is “Know Yourself”.