The World Bank will disburse Sh23 billion to counties for projects that improve the health of mothers and children.
Embu county was yesterday named the first to comply with all the requirements, which means it could receive the first Sh50 million this year.
The World Bank has given Sh20 billion for the five-year initiative, while the Danish development agency Danida will give Sh3 billion.
Embu Governor Martin Wambora said his government has made maternal and child health a key pillar.
“Last year we were voted the best in Kenya in health management and we want to continue to give our people the best,” he said.
Apart from Embu, 30 other counties have met the basic project requirements but their work plans have not been approved yet.
“We are working with the counties to ensure all 47 meet the basic conditions in the project agreement for funding to start flowing in this first year of implementation,” said council of governors CEO Jacqueline Mogeni.
The counties will submit proposals that will be funded at Sh50 million per tranche. However, they are expected to collaborate with the ministry of health, or an independent agency.
The entire project, known as Transforming Health Systems for Universal Care Project, is being financed under World Bank's Global Financing Facility Framework.
“It aims at improving the quality of primary health care services with a focus on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services in the country,” said World Bank senior economist Dr Jane Chuma.
Health Principal Secretary Julius Korir said the CoG and the ministry have recruited seven project staff who report to work next month.
He noted all counties have signed the agreement but must prepare an annual work plan stating the activities to be supported by the grants.
“The project’s funding to counties will be disbursed as soon as the work plan is approved,” Korir said.
The counties must also open a special purpose account with central bank, designate three officers specially for the project, and have the budget approved by county assembly.
“The council of governors notes that the process of requesting for and receiving these proposals has already began and the closing date is August 31,” said head of CoG's Mogeni.
Chair of the county executives forum for health Dr Andrew Mulwa said the project aims to increase skilled deliveries to 87 per cent, antenatal visits to 69 per cent and full immunisation to 76 percent.
He said they also want to increase contraceptive use by currently married women in reproductive age to 73 percent, and increase the rate of pregnant women tested for HIV who received results and
post-test counseling to 75 percent by 2020 from the baselines of the Kenya Demographic and
Health Survey 2014.