Nyeri County has registered 716,947 people under the Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the Government initiative aimed at providing improved and cost effective health care to Kenyans.
Through concerted and collaborative approach, the County has ensured that 349,901 households which is about 86.2 percent of its population have been registered under the ambitious health care programme.
According to Nyeri County Executive Committee Member for Health Dr. Rachel Kamau, the programme has taken off with remarkable success despite the accompanying teething challenges.
Nyeri County is one of the four Counties identified to pilot the Universal Health Coverage in the Country owing to collective high prevalence of communicable and non-communicable diseases, high population density, high maternal mortality and high incidences of road traffic injuries.
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Other Counties where the imitative is under piloting are Kisumu, Machakos and Isiolo.
Dr. Kamau said UHC, which was identified as one of the “Big Four Agenda” of national development and economic priorities towards achieving the Kenya Vision 2030, has seen the County record tremendous expansion of the oncology and Intensive Care Units (ICUs) among other services.
“We have been able to achieve great strides in development of infrastructure, capacity building of health care workers and increasing resources across the health sector,” said Dr. Kamau.
The medic said 10 hematology machines were procured and installed in health centres across the county while Nyeri County Referral Hospital and Naromoru hospital were provided with generators and coolers for the mortuaries.
Other achievements include boosting surveillance and research in non-communicable diseases, establishment of weekly clinics for diabetes and hypertension in selected health centres in the eight sub-counties and recruitment of 2,500 community health volunteers spread across the county.
“These volunteers are part of the community work force as prescribed in the 2nd National Health Strategic plan of 2005-2010,” said Dr. Kamau.
She however said increased workload at referral hospitals due to community preferences and compounded by referrals from neighbouring Counties of Laikipia and Kirinyaga were emerging as drawbacks.
“Staff shortages especially following the rapid expansion of health facilities and late disbursements of UHC funds are an impediment to the seamless implementation of the programme,” added Dr. Kamau.