Uhuru to launch pilot health project in Kisumu

President Uhuru Kenyatta greets former Prime Minister Raila Odinga during the 55th Jamhuri Day Celebrations at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi. He will launch Universal Health Coverage programme in Kisumu County on Thursday. [Photo: Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta will on Thursday officially launch the Universal Health Care (UHC) programme in Kisumu County.

The Sh3.9 billion UHC programme targets four counties, which apart from Kisumu include Machakos, Isiolo and Nyeri.  At least 3.2 million residents are expected to benefit from the pilot project.

As President Kenyatta will be unveiling the ambitious project in Kisumu, the home-turf of Opposition Chief Raila Odinga, simultaneous launches will be conducted in the three other counties.

Speaking during the Jamhuri day celebrations, the Head of state termed the programme as a key milestone in the journey towards attaining universal health coverage.

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“The residents of Isiolo, Kisumu, Nyeri, and Machakos counties will receive free health care services in all health facilities from their local health centres all the way to the referral facilities,” said the President.

Recently while appearing before the whole house of the Senate, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the main aim of the UHC programme, is to ensure all members of the public have access to affordable healthcare by 2022.

“In order to actualize UHC, the ministry in 2018/2019 budget is piloting the program in their counties. The package will be uniform to all households for a period of 15months,” she told the house.

CS Kariuki explained the project is meant to provide lessons on the resilience of the health system to provide comprehensive health service and use lessons leant to scale up the program to the rest of the country.

President Uhuru echoed similar sentiments, noting that how the success of the programme, which is part of his ‘Big Four’ will give insights on how the project will be rolled out in the rest of the 43 counties.

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“We will use the lessons learnt from this pilot to refine and scale up the programme to the rest of the country over the next 18 months,” he said at the fete attended by his Deputy William Ruto and Speakers Kenneth Lusaka (Senate) and Justin Muturi (National Assembly).

In a rare show of unity, for the first time in a long time, all opposition leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula attended a national celebration function together.

The Ministry of Health singled out the four counties which will participate in the pilot project after a national mapping exercise.  Regional balance and the health issues that afflict the residents of the areas was also put in consideration.

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President Uhuru KenyattaUniversal Health CareKisumu CountyRaila Odinga