REPUBLIC OF KENYA

UHC roll out on course as more governors turn up to sign IPAs

 

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki with Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago during the signing between National Government through the Ministry of Health and County Government at a Nairobi hotel. With them is the newly appointed Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr.Mercy Mwangangi [Left], Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Rashid Aman [2left] and Executive County Minister Heath Uasin Gishu Everlyne Rotich [right] among others.

 

Nairobi (KENYA) January 16, 2020 – Governors from five counties today signed the Intergovernmental Participation Agreement (IPA) framework in Nairobi with the Health Ministry to accelerate efforts towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) countrywide.

In the agreement signed with Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Health, Sicily Kariuki the five Governors from Uasin Gishu, Baringo, Nandi, Wajir and west Pokot promised to invest more resources in their respective health sector to make UHC a success.

This now increases the number of counties which have signed the Intergovernmental Participation Agreements to 16 and the number is expected to rise to cover all the 47 counties within the course of this month.

Governors who signed the IPAs with outgoing Health Ministry Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki were Stephen Sang (Nandi), Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Prof John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot), Mohamed Abdi (Wajir) and Stanley Kiptis (Baringo).

Speaking at the function, Mrs Kariuki lauded the governors for supporting the Health Ministry in its efforts towards rolling out UHC countrywide.

“The IPAs will be signed on an annual basis and will therefore give the national and county governments a quick appraisal on UHC…However, as you all know, we cannot realize a good UHC without the availability of the requisite health personnel as well as equipment, medicines and other medical commodities,” Mrs Kariuki noted.

As a starter,  Mrs Kariuki announced that the Government had allocated Sh41.9 billion during this financial year towards accelerating efforts in the achievement of UHC countrywide.

“This initial investment during the 2019/20 financial year will target key strategic areas which were identified in the UHC pilot phase as well as the existing health system gaps…The areas include human resources for health commodities, primary health care services, community health services and service delivery to supplement county investments…This investment is expected to significantly increase in subsequent financial years,” Mrs Kariuki noted.

Mrs Kariuki was flanked by her Devolution Ministry counterpart Eugene Wamalwa, the Health Ministry’s Chief Administration Secretaries, Dr Mercy Mwangangi and Dr Rashid Aman.

In his remarks, Mr Wamalwa said the national government was encouraging all the other counties to sign the IPA to ensure all the 47 counties had enrolled in the initiative before the January 20 deadline.

“The National government—in consultation with the counties—plans to hire 4,000 interns as well as community health volunteers who will be recruited and paid stipends by the counties through their respective public service boards and deployed in level 2 and 3 public health facilities,” Kariuki added.

The CS observed that the one-year UHC pilot programme launched in December 2018 in four counties had provided lessons that would assist in the scaling up of UHC countrywide.

The pilot UHC programme in Machakos, Kisumu, Nyeri and Isiolo, Mrs Kariuki she noted focused on strengthening of health systems with emphasis on community health services and primary health care systems, ensuring availability of essential commodities and basic equipment in health facilities as well as removal of user fees in level 4 and 5 public health facilities. A total of Sh3.9 billion, was invested in the four pilot counties and implemented through an IPA framework.

“The UHC pilot programme resulted in increased utilization in services ranging from 20 per cent to 50 per cent across the four counties…This increase demonstrates to us that a significant number of Kenyans are not able to access health services due to financial constraints,” she said.

Uasin Gushi Governor Jackson Mandago said “We shall support the National Government through the Ministry of Health to ensure the public have access to affordable health care services at grassroot level…. The IPA gives us quick appraisal to roll out UHC within two to three years,’ he argued.

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang also added that “ We shall continue to invest in health services to ensure UHC is a success and urged the National Government to establish more level 5 hospitals to increase access.

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