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Central governors sign deal on next phase of universal health initiative

By Josphat Thiong’o | January 14th 2020
Health CS Sicily Kariuki (centre) is flanked by Central region leaders during the signing of the agreement. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Seven governors from Central Kenya yesterday signed an agreement to implement the second phase of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme.

The governors were from Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua, Laikipia, Embu, Meru and Tharaka nithi counties.

The governors signed the agreement following a successful one year pilot UHC programme rolled out by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018.

More counties are expected to sign similar intergovernmental partnership agreements tomorrow. 

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki yesterday presided over the signing of the agreement, which stipulates the roles for both national and county governments in the implementation of UHC.

"If we work in a cohesive manner as stipulated under the partnership agreement, then we are likely to see better health outcomes within this programme," said Ms Kariuki.

"What follows next after all counties have signed is the scaling up of the programme to ensure Kenyans can access quality healthcare.”

She said the government will be placing 4,000 interns in hospitals in counties in a bid to enhance services.

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County governments will also be provided with basic hospital equipment.

“Finally, we will be partnering with the counties in matters to do with monitoring and evaluation. We will set up structures such as community health units," Kariuki said.

Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia said the implementation of the programme will help revamp institutions such as the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa).

“We have listened to governors who piloted the scheme and we are confident that this programme is implementable. It will succeed. In the past, we have implemented more complicated programs such as free education, which worked,” said Mr Kimemia.

Kimemia, who doubles up as the chairman of the Central Economic Regional Bloc, added that the recruitment of the 4,000 interns would be done through county public service boards to give the youth equal opportunities.

The Sh3.9 billion Universal Health Care programme was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Kisumu County in 2018.

At least 3.2 million people are estimated to have benefited from it across the country. 

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