Kenya to Roll Out Universal Health Coverage to the Neediest in the Society

Mombasa, Kenya – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday launched a biometric registration of one million neediest people into the Universal Health Coverage.

Speaking in Mombasa at Sarova Whitesands Hotel, President Uhuru Kenyatta noted the ongoing reforms at the National Health Insurance Fund. Similarly, President Uhuru referred to the clarion call emphasising that the government plans to provide insurance cover to the neediest in the society.

 “…in line with the clarion call of “leave no one behind”, the government will provide health insurance cover to initially one million households who are vulnerable and unable to meet even that low-cost premium.” President Uhuru said.

Additionally, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the relevant ministries and counties to fast track in identifying the needy people in the society for the program.

“The identification of these one million households by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, and the Counties are set to begin in a few days across the entire country.” President Uhuru Kenyatta said.

The President said the delivery of UHC would adopt the essential health benefits package which will enable Kenyans to gain access to a critical set of health services at a much lower cost. 

The package will cover several areas including outpatient and inpatient services, communicable and non-communicable disease management, maternity, dialysis, radiology, mental health, minor and major surgery, substance abuse rehabilitation, emergency services and cancer treatment among others.

The parliament was also urged to fast-track the legislation required to implement the program fully. He said lessons drawn from the successful pilot phase of UHC and international best practices are being infused into the national roll out to make the program sustainable.

President Kenyatta pointed out that the pilot phase led to an increase in the uptake of health services in the country by 1.6 million new hospital visits during the 12 months.

“Key achievements of this phase include the establishment of an additional 208 community health units, staffed by 7,700 community health volunteers. Further, there was the recruitment of an additional 752 health workers to narrow existing gaps,” he said.

The Head of State reminded those charged with the responsibility of managing health sector funds to utilise the resources prudently and warned of dire legal consequences for individuals found guilty of misuse.

“Any person who attempts to defraud the NHIF or abuse its processes will be dealt with accordingly as provided for under our laws,” the President said. 

During the occasion, President Kenyatta who is also the current chairperson of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) kicked off a national anti-malaria campaign and received a progress report on the operational reforms being undertaken at the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency.