County assembly accused of frustrating UHC programme

An executive has accused the county assembly of impeding implementation of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme.

President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the UHC pilot programme in four counties last December. Nyeri, Isiolo and Machakos counties are the other three.

The pilot phase targets more than three million Kenyans.

Yesterday, Health Executive Rosemary Obara claimed the devolved unit was yet to access Sh127.5 million that was allocated for the first quarter of the project.

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Ms Obara said even after holding talks with County Assembly Speaker Onyango Oloo and the assembly Health Committee, MCAs were yet to approve the expenditure - greatly impeding health operations in the county.

The executive said while Isiolo, Nyeri and Machakos were concluding UHC first quarter and preparing reports on expenditure, Kisumu was yet to access the money.

“From December last year the money has not been approved by the county assembly, causing many setbacks in UHC implementation,” she said.

As a result, she explained, the Health department was unable to supplement what was missing in public hospitals.

“I called the Speaker immediately the funds were disbursed, but he told me that the assembly was in recession,” Obara claimed.

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She said the county government now lacks money to motivate staff and give some facilities a face-lift as had been planned.

The county has registered 306,697 households with 887,038 people representing a 75 per cent uptake of the UHC service.

Since the UHC launch, 132 hospitals across the county have recorded 82 per cent increase in the number of people seeking outpatient services.

“We fear the delay might negatively affect our UHC indicators,” Obara noted.

County assembly Health Committee Vice Chairman Seth Okumu said it was up to the Health and Finance executives to collaborate with the assembly to ensure the funds were released.

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“We need an explanation to help us understand the figures we are approving so that it moves faster than the delays we experience during confirmation and consultation,” said Mr Okumu.

Mr Oloo accused the county executive of taking too much time before presenting an official request to the assembly to approve the funds.

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Universal Health CoverageUHC programme