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Free healthcare to benefit children in Mombasa: Nassir

 Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir has defended his free medical care services targeting children under five years across the county.

This comes after reports emerged that some parents were being asked to pay for services rendered to their children, yet the governor had announced that it would be free.

Nassir said the programme was only meant for children from the county and not those from outside Mombasa.

“If you look at the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital, 60 to 70 per cent of the sick children there are not from Mombasa. Please, explain to me when I start giving waivers to all Kenyan children, where will I get this money from?” said Nassir.

The programme was launched in May last year when the governor said his administration would ensure children below five years get free medical care at Coast General Hospital and its outreach facilities within Mombasa.

He responded to claims that he chased away proprietors of Mombasa Cement Company from continuing to discharge their philanthropic duties of paying hospital bills for poor patients held up at the hospital.

Governor Nassir said his plan was being supported by funds collected from different sectors in the county, adding that his administration was spending Sh6 million every month to support Coast General Hospital for the treatment of residents who are not financially capable.

“The resources of Mombasa belong to the people of Mombasa. I will not shy away from it, and I will not do anything contrary to what they deserve," he said.

“How do you expect me to carry the burden of a child from outside Mombasa and leave my children because I fear people are going to talk about it?” Nassir said.

He said Mombasa received about Sh650 million monthly as an equitable share from the national government while noting that the money was not enough given that the county has a bloated wage bill that stands at about Sh530 million every month.

Constitutionally, he said the governor has to allocate another Sh70 million to the Mombasa County Assembly.

Whatever remains has to be channelled across development programmes and services across the county.

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