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Government model health centres near completion

BUSINESS
By | October 22nd 2011

By Patrick Githinji

The Government has inched closer to achieving its ambitious three-year-health care reforms with the construction of model health centres in each constituency nearing completion.

About 200 constituencies will soon make available health centres that include an in-patient section comprising of a maternity, children’s ward and other facilities.

The health centres have been constructed through an Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) introduced by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Uhuru Kenyatta two years ago. Each constituency received Sh20 million. According to the latest ESP progress reports, 35 Model Health Centres have been completed, 169 are ongoing with 147 above 70 per cent complete, four have stalled and two did not start.

The Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation announced recently that 10,500 heath workers have already been employed to boost the reform programme. The ministry has also hired 4,200 nurses. Twenty are being stationed in health centres in every constituency.

It is part of the Sh22 billion Government sponsored ESP unveiled by Uhuru against a backdrop of global and national economic challenges, which resulted in a slowing down of the economy to a trifling 1.7 per cent in 2009 compared to the 7.1 per cent in 2007.

Uhuru described the stimulus package as a short to medium-term, high intensity, high impact programme aimed at jump-starting the economy towards long term growth and development. It also sets out to secure the livelihoods of Kenyans and address challenges of regional and inter-generational inequity.

He expects ESP to expand opportunities for economic engagement and development, especially for the youth.

Criteria

Selection criteria for construction of health centres involved upgrading of existing functional dispensaries. They were identified by stakeholders; the chosen location should not have less than two acres, have the ability to serve a population of 10,000 people, with a well-established outpatient section.

Treasury is already preparing to release five motor cycles for each constituency in the country for health workers at an estimated cost of Sh84 million or Sh400, 000 per constituency under the ESP. This is designed to ensure that both preventive and curative healthcare is effective countrywide.

The Treasury is also expected to release 20 bicycles for community health workers in each constituency at an estimated cost of Sh12.6 million countrywide or Sh600, 000 for each constituency.

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