President Uhuru Kenyatta ysterday launched projects worth Sh2.5 billion in Vihiga County, ranging from water, hospital to university, teachers college and technical training institute rehabilitation.
The Vihiga Water Supply project to cover the Tiriki and Banyore communities will be implemented at a cost of Kshs 1.8 billion while Kshs 200 million was used to construct a business complex at Kaimosi Friends University College, a constituent college of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.
Other projects are the revamping Kaimosi Teachers College at a cost of Kshs 82 million, Kshs 26 million allocated for Kaimosi technical training institute as well as the privately funded Jumuia Friends Hospital Kaimosi refurbished at a cost of Kshs 400 which the President opened today.
The Kaimosi fraternity received further relief when President Kenyatta ordered the upgrading and tarmacking of a 10-kilometre road and directed Kengen to renovate a 2.7 MW hydro-power generation plant to provide electricity to the community.
Speaking during a special service of dedication for the opening of the refurbished Jumuia Friends Hospital at the Kaimosi complex, the President commended faith-based organisations for complementing Government’s effort to ensure Kenyans have access to quality health services at affordable costs.
“In Kenya, faith-based hospitals provide healthcare services to more than 40 per cent of the total population, greatly complementing Government efforts,” President Kenyatta pointed out.
In the four years President Kenyatta has been in office, the country has achieved major milestones towards making healthcare affordable or even free for some services.
In 2013, President Kenyatta launched a three-pronged approach to hasten the pace of achieving universal health coverage, starting with free maternity services that have led to an unprecedented increase in deliveries in public health facilities.
The national Government committed some Kshs 3.8 billion to fund the free maternity services in the 2013/2014 financial year. This amount was progressively increased to Kshs 4.04 billion and Kshs 4.298 billion for the financial years 2014/15 and 2015/16 respectively, rising to Kshs 4.3 billion in the 2016/17 financial year.
The Government’s investment in free maternity services has reducedhome deliveries resulting in a significant decrease in maternal and infant mortality. For instance, in 2016 the country registered 911,959 deliveries in public health facilities compared to only 461,995 deliveries in 2013.
In Vihiga County, the national Government in the 2015/2016 financial year spent Kshs 142 million on free maternity.
“Free maternity services increased from 6,904 number of people served in 2012/2013 to 15,264 in 2015/2016, an increase of 121 per cent,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta now intends to expand the free maternity service to include provision of free National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) medical cover for one year for mother and child upon delivery in public health facilities. This is a key plank of the Jubilee manifesto to be launched on Monday.
The other landmark initiative that followed was the 2015 launch of the Kshs 38 billion Managed Equipment Services project by President Kenyatta, enabling every county to have two hospitals fully equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment.
The project provided the selected hospitals with modern theatre equipment, surgical and sterilisation equipment, laboratory equipment, kidney dialysis equipment, ICU facilities, digital X-ray machines, ultrasound and imaging equipment.
Presiding over the signing of agreements to implement the project on 6 February 2015 at State House, Nairobi, President Kenyatta stated that the effort is aimed at “delivering relief to families and communities held back by the high cost of getting treatment for loved ones.”
He said the programme would “strike a decisive blow in our struggle to win freedom from sickness and secure the right to quality healthcare”.
Today, President Kenyatta said his administration has spent Kshs 430 million to provide the specialized medical equipment to Vihiga Level 5 hospital and Kshs 380 million to Emuhaya Level 4 hospital.
“My Government has equipped Vihiga County Referral and Emuhaya Hospitals with Theatre Equipment, Sterilization Equipment and Surgical sets, Renal (Kidney) Equipment, ICU Equipment and Radiology Equipment worth 810 million shillings. And this has brought health care services closer to the people,” President Kenyatta said.
He added: “During the last four years my Government has also built and renovated Vihiga Kenya Medical Training College at a cost of 12 million,” President Kenyatta said.
The third milestone of the Jubilee administration in the health sector was reforming of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to expand coverage for quality health services, improve access to essential medicines and reduce out-of-pocket payments in a move viewed by stakeholders as key in accelerating universal health coverage.
Other speakers included Cabinet Secretaries Eugene Wamalwa (Water and Irrigation) and Henry Rotich (National Treasury), Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka, NCCK Chairperson Rev. Canon Rosemary Mbogoh and NCCK General Secretary Rev. Canon Peter Karanja.