Children under age five to get free medical care – Nassir

Governor accused of stopping donors from helping Mombasa residents but denies the claims.

In Summary
  • The county boss said that any institution should always first engage the health department CEC and the executive before seeking help from donors.
  • Nassir to provide free medical care to children, says he never opposed donations.
Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir during a press conference in his office on Tuesday.
Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir during a press conference in his office on Tuesday.

All children under the age of five in Mombasa will receive free healthcare services, Governor Abdulswamad Nassir has announced.

He also emphasised on Tuesday that health facilities and other organisations should first seek aid from the county before calling on donors without approval. The rush of donation-seeking makes the capable county seem incompetent and disorganised and confuses the situation.

As for healthcare, the governor said his administration will ensure children get free medical care at Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital (CGTRH) and its outreach facilities.

The ambitious programme will be supported by funds collected from different sectors in the region.

The county boss said his government has a plan to support the CGTRH with Sh6 million monthly to help Mombasa residents who are not financially able. 

“I have issued an order to the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital board together with the Department of health CEC to have a sit-down and come up with ways on how people will be helped,” Nassir said.

He said they will soon start a rollout the programme to ensure 15,000 families are included in the National Health Insurance Fund because the county wants universal coverage.

Nassir said that one of the major reasons they are rolling out NHIF coverage is because it is more cost-effective and will also strengthen other facilities.

The governor said people will be registered at medical camps in every ward.

“We will use our community health promoters who have started identifying the 15,000 families to do the registration," he said.

Mombasa is among the first counties to ensure community health promoters have a stipend, Nasir added.

“This should be phase one and if all goes well, I believe everyone will be able to take the responsibility of paying the taxes. We believe by the end of the year, the number will increase to 20,000 people in the programme," the governor said.

He said the cost of being able to treat is higher than prevention. Therefore, once they are able to go into the community, disease outbreaks will go down and fewer people will go to hospitals.


The governor also denied reports he stopped donors in the region from paying hospital bills for patients.

Early this week, a letter from the Executive to the county hospital, asking hospital management to stop seeking donations, went viral after it was construed the governor had stopped all donations.

“This is to bring to your attention that no donation or financial support should be sought or allowed to be given to any of our health facilities. This is a directive from the Executive,” reads part of the letter dated April 20. It was signed by Health CEC Swabah Ahmed.

However, on Tuesday, Nassir clarified the letter was addressed to hospitals not to seek donations, but donors are free to pay for any person’s bill.

He said the county government of Mombasa has so many health facilities, so it is impossible that every clinic starts approaching donors and telling them they need help, yet the county government is not aware of their need.

The county boss termed it morally, ethically and financially wrong to seek outside help before seeking county resources. 

“We are not mentally ill or sick to say a person should not be paid for the hospital bills but again we cannot allow everyone to start writing letters and making calls saying that my hospital wants X-ray machines.  

“Others want to paint their facilities, and I am asking you one question: How about if the county has plans of painting the hospital or providing it with the X-ray machines?"

"On the other side, however, we have people who have already sought help because they are put to be the head of the hospital. I want this to be understood, we did not tell any donor, we told the institutions under the county of Mombasa,” the governor said.

Nassir said the letter was not only addressing health facilities but also the ECDs and the social centres and the reason for this was that they need to have order and dignity in the county.

He said they cannot allow the head of any single facility without the agreement and the concurrence of the CEC member and the governor to start writing and seeking donations in every single place because there will be no openness in that.

“All we said is if there is something that is needed, they should say so because there is already the health task force report. We want to implement that and if we will need a donor, let it be in a structured way,”

“I want to clarify and remove the dust from people's ears that no one was denied permission to pay for a person's hospital bill. They must stop misleading the public,” he said.

He said this was a Cabinet resolution that he will stick to. If they need help, they will approach a donor and ask for it. But not everyone writes letters seeking help without order and approval.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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