NAIROBI, Feb. 8– Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta Monday launched the national scale-up of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which seeks to ensure that all Kenyans access quality healthcare.
Kenyatta who launched the ambitious health plan in the coastal city of Mombasa said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to bear the urgent need for the country to upscale implementation of the UHC. He affirmed the government’s commitment to spreading the benefits of UHC across the country through the development of a focused policy to accelerate its implementation.
He said his administration has developed the UHC Policy, covering the period 2020-2030, to guide the acceleration of the progress in attaining UHC. It is part of Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda comprising of food security, manufacturing, affordable housing and universal healthcare.
The President said the UHC which started in 2013 with the launch of the highly acclaimed free maternity program dubbed “Linda Mama” (protect mother) currently benefits over one million mothers annually.
He outlined various initiatives the Government has put in place to ensure the successful implementation of UHC including investment in health infrastructure and development of a digital health platform to support the effective monitoring of the health sector. And he said the investments the government has made since 2013 have seen an increase of 43 percent in public health facilities from a stock of 4,429 facilities in 2013 to 6,342 currently.
“In the same period, our ICU capacity has increased by an impressive 502 percent; and our total hospital bed capacity has also increased significantly by 47 percent,” Kenyatta said, adding the government has also fully funded the upgrading hospitals across all the 47 counties as national referral hospitals with specialized state-of-the-art medical equipment.
The Kenyan leader said the Government has developed the Kenya Essential Medicines List, the Essential Medicals Supplies List and the Kenya Medical Laboratory List to enhance availability of essential medicines and supplies.
He said the country has over the past 10 years increased the total number of health workers in the public and private sector by 41 percent to address the human resource shortage. 15,234 healthcare workers were recruited under the UHC program and COVID-19 management. – XINHUA