800,000 Kisumu residents registered for Universal Health Coverage

In Summary

• Kisumu county has registered 843,683 out of the 1.1 million residents.

• The registered residents are now able to access free health services in public sector facilities from level two to level 5.

Acting Kisumu Health executive Nerry Achar during the UHC conference at Grand Swiss Hotel.
Acting Kisumu Health executive Nerry Achar during the UHC conference at Grand Swiss Hotel.

More than 800,000 residents of Kisumu have enrolled in the Universal Health Coverage programme, acting Health executive Nerry Achar has said.

During a UHC conference in Kisumu, Achar said the county has listed 843,683 out of 1.1 million people in the county.  

Those registered are now able to access free services in public hospitals.

Kisumu is among the four pilot counties in the Universal Health Coverage programme. The others are Nyeri, Machakos and Isiolo.

Achar said figures from the department of health show that the demand for services has doubled in the county during the pilot. 

“While this is a great relief for our people, it has caused a big strain on the health system,” Achar said.

He said an additional 179 health providers have been hired using UHC funds disbursed by the national government.

“For us to offer quality health services, innovative approaches are needed to fill the gap in human resources,” he said.

“We believe that engaging healthcare providers on a locum or on short-term contracts is a temporary solution to alleviate the shortage," Achar said. 

"At the beginning of the pilot, we conducted a detailed gap analysis that revealed that only 26 per cent of the needed health workforce is in service."

Kisumu has 210 health facilities, out of which 124 are government-owned. The rest are run be faith-based organisations, the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

Achar said the HIV prevalence is at 19.9 per cent, 595 women die during childbirth for every 100,000 births and 79 out of every 1,000 children die before their fifth birthday.

He said the health indicators are worsened by poverty. Fifty per cent of Kisumu  residents live below the poverty line, he said.

"Achar said Kisumu was included in the pilot because of a high prevalence of infectious diseases.

He said the successful implementation of the UHC pilot in the four counties has demonstrated the impact of the successful partnership between the national government and counties.

The conference provides a platform to share information on UHC, share experiences from the four pilot counties and discuss the way forward.

The national government plans to scale up the programme in the remaining 43 counties.