The State-backed Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) has seen public health facilities increase by 43 percent to 6,342 from a stock of 4,429 centres in 2013.
UHC is one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four strategic pillars that envisions major policy and administrative reforms in the medical sector to ensure everyone has access to quality and affordable medical care by 2022.
Speaking at the Port Reitz sub-county hospital in Mombasa where he launched the national scale-up of the UHC, the President affirmed the government’s commitment to spreading the benefits of UHC across the country through the development of a focused policy to accelerate its implementation.
“In the same period, our ICU capacity has increased by an impressive 502 percent; and our total hospital bed capacity has also increased significantly by 47 percent,” Mr Kenyatta said.
“In this regard, my administration has developed the Universal Healthcare Coverage Policy, covering the period 2020 – 2030, to guide the acceleration of the progress in attaining UHC.”
The president, who was accompanied by the Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and other Coast region leaders also called on all Kenyans to register for the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), adding that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to bear the urgent need for the country to upscale implementation of the UHC.
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“Under this pillar, we seek to eradicate the ‘poverty of dignity’ and transition our nation into an era where no Kenyan should be forced to choose between medical bills and other essential needs,” the President explained.
To further realization of the UHC goal, President Kenyatta welcomed the passing into law the NHIF Amendment Act by Parliament.
“I would not shy to say my administration has successfully set the unshakable foundation for achieving the goal of 100 percent health insurance coverage and as a result access to affordable and quality healthcare, so that never again should a Kenyan needlessly suffer or be driven to poverty because of medical bills,” he said.
On his part, CS Kagwe said the government will now shift focus on further reforming the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), establishing a mandatory UHC scheme, adopting an essential package of health services, and providing health coverage for an initial one million low-income households to be biometrically registered.
He said going forward primary care facilities in rural areas will no longer suffer from shortages of staff, essential drugs, and basic medical equipment with the roll out of UHC.
The CS noted that the government is committed to providing UHC under the ‘Big Four Agenda’ as part of its socio-economic transformation by providing equitable, affordable, and quality healthcare of the highest standard to all Kenyans.
UHC, started in the country in 2013 with the launch of the highly acclaimed free maternity programme dubbed “Linda Mama”, which currently benefits over one million mothers annually.