Government defends plan to pilot health coverage

Monday April 16 2018

State House, Nairobi

State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu holds a press briefing at State House, Nairobi, on April 15, 2018. PHOTO | SAMULE MIRUNG'I | PSCU 

By PATRICK LANG'AT
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A government plan to pilot its 100 per cent universal health project in Kisumu, Machakos, Isiolo and Nyeri, will go on despite opposition from governors.

State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said on Sunday the rest of the counties will be initially be limited to 10,000 homes in plan which is one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda that also includes food security, manufacturing and affordable housing.

Governors have opposed the selection of the four counties, saying the programme should be rolled out across the country and the Sh1.7 billion budget allocated equally.

NATIONALLY

But Mr Esipisu said the programme must be piloted to provide an opportunity for adjustments before it is rolled out nationally.

“The pilot is important because it allows the national government and county governments to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of facilities and institutions that are key to delivery. It will also make it possible to assess the availability of human resources, logistics and how citizens are engaging with the programme,” Mr Esipisu told journalists at State House during his Sunday weekly briefing.

He added:  “This is not about just who is running the programme or under whose mandate it is supposed to be. This is about ensuring that the Kenyan citizens get the services they expect from the government.”

The official said Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki will soon be travelling to Cuba, which prides itself on having eliminated malaria, for lessons on the efficient use of preventive measures against common diseases.

CUBAN SPECIALISTS

With the help of Cuba, Mr Esipisu said, the government hopes to launch a malaria vector control project in Busia, Kakamega, Bungoma, Siaya, Kisumu, Migori, Homa Bay, Kisii and Nyamira.

“Cuba’s methods, their medicines and their technology is proven and we are collaborating with them to ensure that we can adopt their methods,” Mr Esipisu said, adding that the government will go ahead with a plan to bring in 100 specialist doctors from Havana despite opposition from doctors.

“The plan is very much still to bring in 100 Cuban specialists in areas such as ontology, nephrology and dermatology. There is a massive shortage of specialists in these areas. The Cubans will also be expected to mentor Kenyan doctors they are working with in various counties,” he said.