'Wamatangi Care' welcome relief for vulnerable families in Kiambu

 Elizabeth Wanjiku, whose hospital bill for maternity was catered for by Kiambu Afya initiative. [George Njunge, Standard]

With his hands clasped, Harun Mbugua sits outside his family’s house, reflecting on his last moments with his mother. She was the pillar of the family and her loss has been devastating for everyone around him.

Mbugua, a resident of Gatitu Sub-location in Gatundu South recently lost his mother, Mary Njoroge. She had been suffering from an illness and was admitted to a local hospital, where medical bills shot to over Sh150,000 — an amount the family could not afford.

However, thanks to her membership in Kiambu Afya, an affordable healthcare plan introduced by Governor Kimani Wamatangi, the burden was lessened. The entire hospital bill was cleared by the scheme.

Tragically, Mbugua’s mother did not survive, but the family was spared the additional financial burden of funeral expenses thanks to the Last Respect Cover, which provided Sh100,000.

“It was a double blessing in a time of sorrow. We were able to mourn our mother without stress of financial worries,” he shares.

He said that although the family was still mourning, it would have been a double tragedy if they had lost their mother and didn’t have the funds to clear the bill, given their humble background.

“As a family, we are grateful to Wamatangi for this medical scheme which is assisting vulnerable families. Can you imagine the kind of burden we would be dealing with if we did not get the assistance?” posed Mbugua.

Elizabeth Wanjiku is another beneficiary of the scheme, popularly known as Wamatangi Care, with her own story to tell. Cuddling her newborn son outside her home in Kamunyu village in Gatundu North, she could not hide her joy as she narrated her experience.

Just months ago, the prospect of safely delivering her baby seemed an uphill task due to her financial status. However, thanks to “Wamatangi Care,” her worries were eased.

She expressed gratitude to the Governor for the programme that allowed her to safely deliver her baby free of charge at Gatundu Level 5 Hospital. “I don’t know what I would have done without Wamatangi Care. I didn’t pay a single coin. They took care of everything,” she said.

Enrolled in the program, Wanjiku’s premiums were covered, allowing her to benefit from comprehensive maternal care at no cost. Her story is just one of many that highlight how this revolutionary plan has transformed the lives of Kiambu’s residents.

“I urge residents to enrol in this scheme. I do not know what would have happened to me if I did not have this cover,” remarked Wanjiku.

Another heart rending story is that of Kamau wa Kimani of Kangoya village in Ndumberi ward. He says when he heard the Governor announcing that residents should register for Wamatangi Care, he thought it was the usual political gimmick.

“I reluctantly enrolled in the scheme and was surprised when I got a text message that I had been enrolled,” he said. He later got involved in a road accident that left him bedridden for days and his medical bills were settled by the scheme.

The success stories of Wamatangi Care echo throughout Kiambu, with residents praising Wamatangi’s visionary leadership. By partnering with the National Health Insurance Fund, the county has enrolled 100,000 households. Kiambu Health executive Dr Elias Maina says the idea was mooted in 2022.

Wamatangi says he takes pride in the fact that the scheme is working. He notes that resources that were being pilfered before have come in handy in paying the premiums for residents under the care. “I have data showing that this scheme is assisting people. We are going to ensure that it is sustained,” he adds.

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