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Makueni county donates 50-acre land for medical university

 AMREF CEO Dr Githinji Gitahi

AMREF has announced that it will build a medical university in Makindu, Makueni, on 50-acre land donated by the County Government, the CEO Githinji Gitahi announced on Wednesday.

Speaking during the Universal Health Care Conference being held in Makueni, Dr Gitahi said they are going to do more than just train doctors and nurses.

“We are just not going ahead and say we will be training more doctors or nurses. Ours will train according to the need," said the Amref boss.

During the two-day conference, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana also expressed confidence that the county's unique subsided medical service system will not be scrapped off once he leaves office.

Prof Kibwana said the medical scheme that provides health services at a cost of Sh500 per year for every household should be maintained by the governor who will take office come 2022.

This is Kibwana's second term in office and currently, the law allows county bosses to serve for only two terms.

"This programme has been so entrenched in people who have seen its benefit," said Kibwana. “To say that someone may come and scrap it off, I think that may even lead to a county government being dissolved."

Kibwana was speaking during the Universal Health Conference (UHC) held in the county that President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to officially close on Thursday.

Kibwana said that though at the moment the county is depending on policies and guidelines to operationalise the programme, the county is planning to put in place laws to protect it.

"We have a New Health Act that we hope to domesticate this programme and have laws that support it," said Kibwana.

Makueni is regarded as the pioneering county in provision of Universal Health Care since its introduction of the subsidised insurance programme. 

The programme is eligible to all Makueni residents and non-residents who have lived in the area for six months. 

The cover however does not pay for morgue services( more than ten days), surgical implants and unlike the state run National Health Insurance Fund(NHIF), that is activated three months of registration where subscribers pay Sh500 monthly,  for Makueni it is instant.

"The biggest challenge that we have is that we still have people who wait to be sick to register in the programme," said Kibwana.

The programme now has 72,000 households from 25,000 in 2016.

So far, the county has managed to keep its budget allocation to health above 30 per cent where in the last financial year 2016/17 of the Sh7.2 billion budget, Sh2.4 was on health.

The county has also increased the number of health workers 977 in 2013/14 to 1462 in 2016/17.

Similarly, hospital admissions increased under the same period from 298,760 to 515,321.

"There is a lot of demand for health services and this means those who were not able to access now have the ability," he said.

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