ON COURSE

National UHC rollout gets Sh50 billion

Former Health CS Sicily Kariuki piloted UHC in Kisumu, Nyeri, Machakos and Isiolo.

In Summary

• At least 3.2 million people received free healthcare in the four pilot counties. 

• Health got Sh111.7 billion, inclusive of the Sh50.3 billion for UHC. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta signs the Universal Health Coverage charter during the launch of the UHC pilot programme at Mamboleo Showground, Kisumu, on December 13, 2018.
President Uhuru Kenyatta signs the Universal Health Coverage charter during the launch of the UHC pilot programme at Mamboleo Showground, Kisumu, on December 13, 2018.

The national roll-out of the Universal Health Coverage is on course, despite the devastation caused by Covid-19. 

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said he has allocated Sh50.3 billion for the programme, one of President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big Four agenda. 

"The government continues to prioritise healthcare by scaling up universal health coverage to all the counties," Yatani said.

 
 
 

UHC was piloted by former Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki for one year beginning December 13, 2018, in Kisumu, Nyeri, Machakos and Isiolo.

At least 3.2 million people received free healthcare in the four counties. 

The four were selected as they represent unique characteristics: Isiolo is a frontier county with mainly nomadic and semi-nomadic population; Kisumu has a high burden of infectious diseases; Machakos is weighed down by road accidents, and Nyeri has a high prevalence of non-communicable diseases.

Some of the challenges encountered included under-funding and shortage of personnel against a huge number of patients due to the availability of free services.

On Thursday, Yatani said he has generally increased allocation to health. 

Health got a total of Sh111.7 billion, inclusive of the Sh50.3 billion for UHC. 

The total budget also includes Sh19.2 billion to address and lower cases of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.

The managed equipment services received Sh6.2 billion. The money will pay suppliers who provide on-the-job user training and maintenance of the equipment.

MES programme covers 98 health facilities across the country, which have received equipment for radiology, ICU, and renal care.

Yatani said he has also allocated Sh5.3 billion to transform the health care systems for UHC, Sh4.1 billion to cater for free maternity health care and Sh1.8 billion to provide medical cover for the elderly and severely disabled.

This year, health institutions also got increased allocation. Kenyatta National Hospital got Sh15 billion, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital Sh10 billion, Kenya Medical Training Centres Sh7.2 billion, and the Kenya Medical Research Institute Sh2.5 billion.

Further, Mathari Hospital was allocated Sh1.2 billion while all level 5 hospitals got Sh4.3 billion conditional grant.

Health services were also included in the eight-point Economic Stimulus Programme to revive the economy.

Treasury allocated Sh56.6 billion for this programme, which supports a range of economic activities including local manufacturing.

Sh1.2 billion was proposed for the recruitment of an additional 5,000 healthcare workers for one year.

"This will enhance our Covid-19 response capabilities and strengthen implementation of the universal health coverage programme," Yatani said.

He allocated an additional Sh500 million to supply 20,000 locally made beds and bedding to public hospitals, and Sh25 million to establish 50 walk-through sanitiser at border points and hospitals across the country.

(edited by o. owino)