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I will make healthcare top priority, says Raila

By Grace Ng'ang'a | Nov 19th 2021 | 3 min read

ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga, Nairobi Governor Anne Kananu (left) Ida Odinga (right) and Daughters of Raila and Azimio la akina Mama cheers at Catholic University, on Thursday, November 18, 2021. [Samson Wire, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has promised universal healthcare from next year if he becomes president.

He said quality healthcare remains a pipedream for many Kenyans decades after independence.

Raila said his administration would increase the doctor-to-patient ratio to international standards. “We will upgrade facilities and evenly distribute doctors to cover the entire country,” he said.

Under his watch, the ODM chief said, doctors will have better terms to enable them serve Kenyans full-time and reduce maternal deaths.

“We don’t want someone working for government and also having a private practice. You must choose to work full time,” he said.

He was addressing concerns by women leaders that some doctors leave their workstations due to harsh work conditions and poor pay.

Meanwhile, a caucus of women dubbed “Azimio la kina mama” threw their weight behind Raila’ presidential bid. The pro-handshake women leaders announced countrywide campaigns to popularise Raila and his Azimio la Umoja drive.

Raila urged women to turn out in large numbers and vote in next year’s General Election. He was accompanied by his wife Ida and daughters Rosemary and Winnie.

Led by Public Service and Gender Chief Administrative Secretary Beatrice Elachi, the women said Raila is better placed to succeed President Kenyatta.

 They said women were pushing for the inclusion of their agenda into Raila’s manifesto, even as they seek to field 5,000 female candidates in next year’s elections.

To meet the elusive gender rule in government, former Nyeri Woman Rep Priscilla Nyokabi proposed that Raila’s administration, if he wins, fills half of Cabinet and Principal Secretaries appointments with women. “This is a journey of unity and peace. Today, women join the Azimio la Umoja train,” said Nyokabi, also a commissioner at the National Gender and Equity Commission.

“We affirm our commitment that we are with you in this journey because we know we are safe in your hands,” added Kabondo Kasipul MP Eve Obara. Nyokabi said: “We want to thank you for believing in peace and showing us peace. We are safe in Raila’s hands.”

Murang’a Woman MP Sabina Chege admitted they had to demonise the ODM leader in Mt Kenya for Uhuru to win, saying they had now embarked on a journey to undo the 2013 and 2017 campaign propaganda against Raila.

“We have called you names. On behalf of Central voters, I ask for forgiveness. We do not have a reformist, a person who has fought for democracy as Baba,” Sabina said.

Present were governors Anne Kananu (Nairobi) and Charity Ngilu of Kitui, and Woman Reps Florence Mutua (Busia), Janet Ongera (Kisii), Christine Ombaka (Siaya), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay) and Kakamega’s Elsie Muhanda. 

Others were Mishi Mboko (Likoni MP), Annie Wanjiku (Gatundu North), Nominated Senator Agnes Zani, CAS Raychelle Shebesh, Kiambu Deputy Governor Joyce Wanjiku, ODM official Beth Syengo and Maendeleo Ya Wanawake chair Rahab Mwiu.

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