Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo has called for an audit on the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) pilot project in the county arguing that little has been achieved since the programme was rolled out five months ago.
Speaking during a tour at the Isiolo Referral Hospital, the legislator said most of the health facilities were in pathetic state citing uncleanliness and torn bed sheets for patients.
“It seems like the money we have so far received under the UHC programme has been diverted elsewhere because we are not seeing any benefits.
"We need proper audit to ascertain whether the monies have been used in the right manner,” said Ms Dullo while rating the score card at 20 percent.
But the county medical services chief officer Ibrahim Alio rubbished the claims noting that the program had seen improved emergency and mental care services, antenatal care through enhanced community service and availability of medicine and medical commodities.
Mr Alio said the number of patients visiting public hospitals in the county has surged by close to 50 percent since the rollout of the program in December last year.
The increase, which includes patients and referrals from neighbouring Meru, Samburu, Wajir, Garissa and Marsabit counties, is attributed to improved services and equipping of the local health facilities with state-of-the-art equipment.
“This is an insult to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s noble health program which has seen improved services at all our public health facilities. Everyone will agree with me that since the programme was rolled out, our services have improved and people have trust in our services,” said Mr Alio.
He added, “The UHC funds have among others seen automation of services which has helped in reducing queues and ensuring that patients are served within the shortest time possible”
The long queues have forced the county government to employ more staff among them 85 nurses and a physician in efforts to ensure improved services.
The Senator complained that many local residents had not been registered under the programme forcing them to dig deep into their pockets and pay for the services and drugs.
But according to Alio, the county registered 205 locals up from the 191 target under the program.
Some of the beneficiaries have been complaining that they were still paying the normal charges blaming it on late disbursement of the cards. They also have to pay for drugs.
The registered patients are required to present the cards at the health facilities to get free services including drugs.
The first phase of the programme also being implemented in Kisumu, Nyeri and Machakos targets 3.2 million Kenyans with a full roll-out in all the 47 counties expected by 2022.
An upgraded state-of-the-art laboratory at the Referral Hospital offers among others liver, thyroid and kidney function tests, lipid test and monitoring services for diabetic patients.
At least 9200 patients have sought laboratory services for the last six months up from 5626 for the entire year of 2018. The pharmacy department has served at least 21,150 patients for the past six months a 214 percent increase from last year’s.
“The (Senator) should have at least appreciated what is happening and not dragging the President’s project in the mud while it is clear that our outside referrals have reduced and those to our referral hospital enhanced,” Mr Alio added.
Mr Alio noted that other counties including Kilifi had already visited for benchmarking showing that the medical services were being appreciated all over the country.