Peter Leshan and DPPS @PeopleDailyKe
Deputy President William Ruto has dismissed those linking his countrywide tours to 2022 politics, saying his title mandates him to “go pushing for further development” across the country.
“We have a long way to the 2022 elections. This is not the time to talk about it. This is the time to talk about issues that would transform Kenya,” he said, adding that when polls come, he will battle it out together with his rivals.
He urged leaders to focus on uniting and empowering Kenyans rather than engaging in divisive politics.
Ruto was speaking in Narok yesterday during the launch of the County’s Universal Health Coverage, where he also warned provincial administrators against inciting the members of the public against each other.
The DP launched Sh150 million CT Scan machine at Narok County Referral Hospital. The machine, which will ameliorate hardships locals undergo in accessing specialised scans, was donated by the National government to the local county government.
He said those needing scans used to travel long distances to Kenyatta National Hospital, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and other private hospitals, adding that the costs of access would be subsidised by the county.
“The government will ensure all county hospitals are equipped with CT Scans for easy diagnosis and treatment. The facility will serve thousands of patients in Narok who used to travel long distances to access it,” he said.
Ruto, who also launched access to medical care through the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) said apart from the scan machine, the government has equipped the local hospital with a dialysis machine, a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine, all at a cost of Sh400 million and was funding the construction of an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
He was accompanied by Governors Samuel Tunai (Narok), Joseph ole Lenku (Kajiado) and Joyce Laboso (Bomet).
Other leaders present included Phillip Mpaayei (Kajiado Senator), MPs Korei Lemei (Narok North), George Sunkuyia (Kajiado West), Gabriel Tongoyo (Narok West) and Lemanken Aramat (Narok East MP).
Tunai said NHIF coverage would lessen the financial burden that families have been bearing.
“We have also committed Sh40 million to facilitate the vulnerable enroll in the NHIF plan,” he noted, adding that they will carry out intense campaign to make Narok a leading County in the country in terms of NHIF enrollment.
Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso lauded the project, saying it will be part of the Jubilee government’s legacy.
“Access to medical services has been a big challenge to most Kenyans and this has impeded the development of our country. There is little double this programme would elevate Kenya to another level in the coming years,” said Dr Laboso.
On his part, Mr Ole Lenku notes that Counties would ensure that they turnaround health facilities into modern-day medical centres “because we need to work towards promoting medical tourism, the same way India has done it”.
The leaders said they would support Mr Ruto’s presidential bid in 2022, saying his past and current development records are testimonies that he would lead the country to prosperity.
“We had a political commitment in 2013 that you will succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta. That will remain as it was. As Narok County, we will rally behind you as you run for the big seat,” said Mr Aramat.
A total of Sh70 million was raised to help the vulnerable enroll for the NHIF medical coverage. Earlier, the Deputy President opened the Narok County Referral Hospital CT Scan Centre, which he said will cut travels by patients to Nairobi or Nakuru to access the critical service.
Mr Ruto said the national government will intensify its partnership with county governments to offer advanced and accessible medical services to the public.
“We will also assist in the expansion of the Kenya Medical Training Colleges in various parts of the country so as to have enough human resources to run our healthcare facilities,” he noted.