MASHUJA DAY CELEBRATION FOCUSES ON UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE (UHC)

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-The UHC bill was officially signed into law on October 19th, 2023,-

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Kenya’s 2010 constitution, in its section regarding national holidays, stipulates that, apart from Jamhuri Day celebrations, other holidays can be observed outside Nairobi. This marks a departure from the previous tradition where holidays were exclusively celebrated in Nairobi.

This year, the Jamhuri Day celebration took place in Kericho, often referred to as Green County, under the theme of “Universal Health Care Coverage.” The UHC bill was officially signed into law on October 19th, 2023, by the President at the State House. The UHC bill consists of two key components: the Social Health Insurance Bill and the Digital Health Bill, which were approved by both the Senate and the National Assembly.

Stakeholders from various sectors in Kericho County expressed their joy, as this marked the first national holiday hosted in Kericho.

“We are delighted to share the tea that hails from Kericho County with the world, and we warmly welcome everyone to visit our lush green county. As a business community, we are thrilled to have the privilege of hosting a national holiday on our land,” said business stakeholders in Kericho County.

Rosemary Rop, the Chief Executive Officer (CEC) of Water in Kericho County, highlighted some of the water-related challenges faced by the residents, with the primary concern being access to clean water.

“Access to clean water is a significant challenge, with only 27.8% of the population having reliable access. Urban areas have better access at 56%, but the key challenge remains ensuring that every household has reliable access to clean water. As the Water CEC, we acknowledge that there is much work to be done. Our County Governor, Eric Mutai, has made water access a top priority in his manifesto. To achieve 100% water coverage, we first need to conduct a survey to identify those lacking water, including schools, institutions, and households.”

“We are very appreciative of Governor Eric Mutai’s leadership. Since taking office, one of our most pressing challenges was the late payment of staff salaries. However, we are pleased to report that we have successfully ensured that salaries are paid no later than the 1st of each month. Additionally, we have plans to hire 841 health workers on contract in the coming months to bolster our healthcare sector.We also aim to promote staff who have been in the same job bracket for an extended period,” noted the County Secretary, Dr. Wesley Bor, while explaining the measures implemented since taking office a year ago.

As Dr. Wesley discussed these measures, Dr. Japheth Kiprotich shed light on the challenges faced by health workers and the solutions being employed. “Based on a survey conducted in 2007, 38% of sick Kenyans lack the financial means to seek healthcare services. The County Government of Kericho has made significant strides in improving access to health services by training 1,657 community health workers and promoters, emphasizing the importance of primary healthcare services.”

Dr. Japheth also stated that in the past year, they have established two Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and increased funding to enhance service delivery. “Over the last year, we have established two ICU units in two major hospitals. We have also introduced two dialysis units at these hospitals and increased funding to ensure better access to essential and non-essential treatments within our facilities. Furthermore, we have enhanced access to healthcare facilities within a 5-kilometer radius for 83% of households.”

Joseph Mutai, the head of Trade, Agriculture, and Tea Farming, addressed the challenges faced by farmers in the county. “Our sector is performing well, encompassing not only tea but also coffee farming. One of our main challenges is market price fluctuations. The County administration is actively considering the establishment of a Tea Auction in Kericho to enable us to have better control over pricing. This move will also potentially attract regions like Mount Kenya to market tea from Kericho, given that we are one of Kenya’s largest tea producers. Furthermore, we are in discussions with countries such as Iran to explore coffee exports in the near future.”

 

By ; Jesse Abisheck

Email: abijessyshi@gmail.com

Social Media: Instagram.com/jesseabisheck

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