NAIROBI, Kenya, 15 March 2017 – Four years ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta promised to upgrade public hospital facilities, provide free primary healthcare for expectant mothers and increase access to affordable healthcare.
Prior to 2013, only four referral hospitals in Kenya had specialized equipment, the number of expectant mothers receiving skilled care was less and many Kenyan’s couldn’t get health insurance.
Today the President has made historic health care reform a reality. Ninety two hospitals across all counties have now been equipped with modern diagnostic equipment, under the innovative Managed Equipment Services (MES) programme.
“We have doubled the numbers of expectant mothers delivering under the care of skilled medical attendants to over 1.2 million by the end of 2016,’’ said the President during the State of the Nation address on Wednesday.
Because of the coverage expansions the number of Kenyans with access to outpatient medical care has also increased through the National Hospital Insurance Fund from 3.8 million in 2013 to 5.8 million in 2017.
The transformation is evident. Jackson Wamai, a 28-year old secondary school teacher in Muranga and Caleb “Balozi” Omino a farmer living with a disability in Kisumu County are happy men today.
Jackson was diagnosed with kidney failure five years ago. He used to travel twice a week to Nairobi for dialysis at Kenyatta National Hospital. He was almost dismissed by the Teachers Service Commission for absenteeism.
“Today, thanks to the upgrades done at the Muranga Level 5 hospital, he now travels 20 minutes to his dialysis sessions. He is able to properly serve his students,” the President revealed.
Through the government-sponsored programme Caleb was also able to become a member of the NHIF. In 2014, Caleb’s daughter Esther fell ill and was admitted to hospital with typhoid a few weeks before she was to sit for her KCPE. “It was through the intervention of NHIF that she received treatment, made a full recovery and was able to successfully complete her exams. Esther is now in form 2,” the President noted.
Across the country, government policies have significantly improved access to health care, the affordability of care, and the quality of care since 2013. The government has also secured equipment and expertise from India to establish a cancer centre at Kenyatta National Hospital.
The President said that the government will continue to support devolution in order to implement projects that will have a positive impact on County residents. Many counties have benefited from collaboration with National government for example Garissa County which has had a first caesarian section conducted through the partnership and Lamu County which has rehabilitated the King Fahad Hospital. The new facility will start operations next month, and is expected to transform the health outcomes for the residents of Lamu County by offering dialysis, X-Ray, emergency operations, and Intensive Care Unit services.