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Ruto: Government to hire 100,000 community health workers

Health & Science
 President William Ruto tours an ICU facility during the official launch of AAR Hospital in Nairobi on February 15, 2023. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Kenya will now start paying its community health workers in a move aimed at ensuring the attainment of Universal Healthcare (UHC).

Speaking during the official launch of AAR Hospital, President William Ruto said the facility will go a long way in the realisation of the elusive Universal Healthcare, one of the components of the big four agenda.

"First intervention will be ensuring 100,000 community health workers are hired by the government to ensure they provide the first line of response," said Ruto.

The president reiterated his government's commitment to the bottom-up economic model that propelled his election into office, saying the implementation of UHC will make treatment affordable and available to Kenyan households, no matter their socioeconomic backgrounds.

Ruto also said his government will give an increased focus on preventive healthcare.

"We are committed to the active promotion of a healthcare system that is robustly attentive to preventive healthcare because prevention is always the most efficient deployment of resources and the best means of enhancing well-being and minimising suffering," he said.

To accomplish the feat, Ruto called on investors, assuring them of the robustness, transparency, stability and security of his governance.

"The political climate is important for this end, as is the policy framework," he said.

"Kenya has a well-developed legal system that guarantees the security of property rights, and is committed to a free market economy."

"To build on the model of private, public partnership, it is critical that all our partnerships understand that Kenya is democratic and that nobody will take advantage of their investment," said Ruto.

The president also said his government is instituting reforms at the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency, effectively implementing a significant policy targeted at lowering the cost of medicines and medical commodities in line with UHC's constituent of lowering healthcare costs.

"This will facilitate innovative medical procurement modalities, including the possibility of bulk procurement in conjunction with stakeholders including faith-based organisations," Ruto said.

He said the reforms will be accompanied by complementary reforms to make the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) a strategic purchaser of healthcare services.

Ruto also said his government is taking substantial measures to ensure education and training provide the skills and professional capacity required to run a globally competitive healthcare sector.

He said the grand coalition and Jubilee governments failed at UHC implementations but his government will not.

He endorsed the establishment of facilities such as the AAR hospital terming them an important indicator that Kenya is roaring into action in terms of attracting the calibre of investment that will propel the nation to global competitiveness.

A 140-bed capacity level five hospital, the facility is set to enhance access to quality healthcare services.

"I congratulate you and assure you of the government's support for investments like this hospital," he said.

Steve Okeyo, the AAR Group CEO said the new facility is an achievement for the capital city and the health sector in general. The hospital features renal, emergency, gynaecology, critical care and surgical units, aimed to serve over 400 patients a day.

"The facility, built with funds from various donor institutions, is a testimony of the great heights that can be achieved where there's goodwill, a conducive environment for investors, fruitful collaborating institutions, ministry staff, and other senior government officials," he said.

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