Deputy President William Ruto has landed in Kisumu to witness the launch of the pilot phase of the universal healthcare programme, part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda.
The pilot programme is due for launching by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday at Mamboleo in Kisumu.
Mr Ruto arrived at about 9:30am and was welcomed by Kisumu County Governor Anyang’ Nyong'o among other local leaders.
The health programme to increase access to medical services by the poor through a minimum contributory scheme.
Those eligible will have to register through community health volunteers after which a special card that grants them access to medical care.
The healthcare programme is being piloted in Kisumu, Nyeri, Machakos and Isiolo counties before being rolled out across the country. Each of these counties will have targeted studies. For example, Kisumu will be key to learn how the programme can help reduce the burden of communicable diseases, while Nyeri is for non-communicable ailments. Isiolo will focus on mortality rates while Machakos will experiment on reducing burden of traffic accidents.
Critics, however, clam that the programme may be yet another white elephant project and that it could be too expensive to sustain.
Yet Mr Ruto's arrival in Kisumu, his first public tour since the chaotic elections last year could signal turning over a new leaf.
During the political campaigns, Mr routinely lampooned the Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga, who was their presidential flag bearer of the National Super Alliance.
But following the March 9 handshake, Mr Odinga and President Kenyatta have since vowed to work together to address key national issues plaguing the country.
Nonetheless, DP Ruto has often been critical of the new rapprochement between Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta, since it may become a stumbling block to his journey to the State House.
In July last year, a crowd jeered Mr Ruto when he tried to address a campaign rally in Kisumu but on Thursday, he hopes things will be different since Mr Odinga will be in attendance.