We have achieved major milestones in health sector, President says
HEALTH & SCIENCEBy RAWLINGS OTIENO | Tue,Mar 15 2016 00:00:00 EATBy RAWLINGS OTIENO | Tue,Mar 15 2016 00:00:00 EAT
The State has touted the free maternity programme and provision of leased medical equipment as major milestones in the public health care system.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said the Sh38 billion Managed Equipment Service Programme introduced last year will upgrade hospitals and enhance medical service delivery.
The President announced that by June this year, two hospitals in every county will receive state-of-the-art medical equipment, including diagnostic equipment.
Speaking at a meeting of leaders from pastoralist communities in Isiolo last week, the President said abolishing of maternity fees in public health facilities has doubled the number of safe deliveries in some counties. "As part of my pledge to build a healthier nation, I declared free maternal health services in 2013 to stem a maternal health crisis. Since then, there has been an exponential increase in deliveries conducted in public facilities and for many of the counties represented here, safe deliveries have approximately doubled," he said.
However, the Sh38 billion programme has generated controversy. Some governors have contended that despite the health sector being a fully devolved function, the Ministry of Health did not consult extensively.
Nyando MP Fred Outa, who is also a member of the National Assembly's Departmental Committee on Health, criticised the Government, saying it had failed to fulfill its promise of increasing the budgetary allocation for the health sector to 15 per cent.
Mr Outa said although health is a devolved function, the Jubilee government had often given counties insufficient funds. He added the Jubilee government had also failed to increase the number of Kenyans under health insurance cover.
"We can only credit counties for the improvement of healthcare despite insufficient funds. The State has totally failed in everything ranging from education to security, corruption and health," said Outa.
But although the Jubilee administration prides itself on making strides in reducing maternal deaths, preventable illnesses such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV and Aids still claim too many lives each year.
According to the Jubilee manifesto, only one in 10 Kenyans have health insurance and public health facilities are stifled by inadequate management, insufficient supplies and poor procurement procedures.
"A pitiful 12 per cent of current Government spending on health goes to running services; the balance is eaten up by bureaucracy and corruption. The World Bank's imposed system of co-sharing has led to a bloated and corrupt National Health Insurance Fund. We are paying for a swollen bureaucracy that is not delivering the healthcare we deserve," reads part of the manifesto.
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