Full Universal Health Coverage pilot drugs cash released

Wednesday March 18 2020
By ANGELA OKETCH
By ELIZABETH OJINA     

The government has now released the full amount of Sh1.8 billion meant for procuring health products and technologies for the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) pilot in four selected counties.

The money was released to the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) with 70 per cent allocated for buying drugs and basic medical equipment and 30 per cent for strengthening health systems in the counties.

The third quarter allocation of Sh931 million, which had been delayed due to budgetary issues, was released last week.

“Apart from other troubles, for instance the human resource aspect, we’re realising the dream of UHC. Fulfilling part of the deal by releasing the whole amount is a sign that we will manage the national roll-out,” Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki said.

Kemsa chief executive officer Jonah Manjari said the agency was ready to distribute the necessary health products and technologies.

“We have all the products and, with the release of money, we can supply all the required drugs on time,” he said.

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The ministry’s approach toward achieving UHC has been through the removal of user fees at all public hospitals and ensuring commodity security through Kemsa. 

Even as the authority gears up to play its role in realising UHC, there have been complaints from the county that it’s unable to deliver 100 per cent of the required drugs.

The four pilot counties have also complained about delayed release of other programme funds. For instance, the Kisumu County government has only received about half of the Sh876 million from the Health ministry meant to plug the county health budget hole created by foregone user fees for one year. 

Kisumu is one of the counties government chose to pilot UHC. Others are Machakos, Isiolo and Nyeri that target 3.2 million Kenyans. Dubbed the Afya Care Initiative, the Sh3.1 billion programme chose the four counties on account of their health burdens. 

The full roll-out of the programme is expected to start within the 2019/2020 financial year.