The national government will rollout its Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme on a pilot basis in four out of the 47 counties.
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said use of Kisumu, Isiolo, Nyeri and Machakos as samples would generate the required feedback to guide the countrywide rollout afterwards.
“We must pilot to create evidence. The sample size in the rest of the counties will be 10,000 households,” she said on Saturday, during the 70th World Health Day celebrations in Nairobi.
This, Ms Kariuki added, would help the country adopt an approach that ensures its healthcare is of high quality, financially sustainable and consistent with its needs.
“Evidence from best practices in countries that have implemented UHC such as Thailand, suggest that there is merit in starting small (in the form of pilots), gather insights to inform the roll-out of UHC across the entire country,” she said.
The pilot exercise will be funded by the national government and other available conditional grants.
“The ministry is not going to use resources meant for counties. This will ensure that no county is disenfranchised in the sense that its resources are used to fund UHC in a selected set of counties,” Ms Kariuki added.
Governors last week opposed selection of the four counties to pilot the project, saying the programme should be rolled out across the country and the Sh1.7 billion budget allocated equally.
Further, the Council of Governors (CoG) demanded that the national government equally allocates and uses up the Sh3 billion set aside for the second phase of the rollout in the initial pilot.
“The Council of Governors has requested the Ministry of Health to pilot the universal healthcare project in all 47 county governments to ensure that both levels of government implement this agenda together,” CoG chairman Josphat Nanok said.
UHC is part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 'Big Four' agenda and is meant to ensure all Kenyans have access to quality healthcare.