Counties that launched their own universal healthcare packages should know that such initiatives will not be sustainable, the Ministry of Health has warned.
Health Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said the push by counties to have their own programmes could drive the sector into a ‘big mess’.
He said the National Government was planning a package for all counties, regardless of what they already had. “We are currently interrogating the health benefits package to be rolled out. We will soon be piloting it in four counties before the rest join,” said Aman.
The four are Kisumu, Isiolo, Nyeri and Machakos, where 3.2 million people will take part.
Kisumu was chosen because of the burden of infectious diseases like HIV/Aids and tuberculosis. Machakos has a high number of accident injuries, while Nyeri has high rates of non-communicable diseases like diabetes. Isiolo was selected to give planners a view of how the package would work among pastoralist communities. A panel selected by Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki on June 8 is yet to release the Government package.
Kitui County is the latest to start such programme where each household contributes Sh1,000 per year and receives treatment in all county facilities. Makueni County was the first and charges Sh500 per household. “Seventy-eight per cent of our population is below 35 years. People of this age rarely fall sick. This, combined with leveraging on community health workers, is how we have managed to sustain our package,” explained Makueni health minister Andrew Mulwa.