President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured Kenyans that the rollout of the universal healthcare coverage, which seeks to provide quality, affordable medical care to Kenyans, is on course and will be completed as promised by his government.
President Kenyatta said the piloting of the programme in four counties — Isiolo, Kisumu Machakos and Nyeri — is the first step in the initiative, which will see the government subsidise medical bills in public hospitals.
He said the piloting will help the government identify the priority areas and the challenges the programme is likely to face, before it is extended to the remaining counties.
“So many families across the country are burdened by heavy medical bills because of unemployment, among other things. As the national government, we will help all counties,” he said in his State of the Nation address on Friday night.
“Let us use these as trials and see what is working and what is not within a year. Some counties like Makueni and Turkana have begun rolling out their own programmes, which we will support as the national government,” he added.
The President’s statements came against the backdrop of an aggressive government campaign to equip public hospitals with modern machines.
So far, it has installed at least half of the targeted 37 CAT scan machines, and equipped theatres and intensive care units in 37 counties, easing the burden of treatment for many families.
The latest facility to receive the computed tomography (CT) scan machine is the Kakamega County Referral Hospital.
And in response to concerns over the risk of patients and medical staff being exposed to radiation, the government has assured patients that the new CAT scan machines are safe.
Among the modern machines now available in county facilities are automatic generators for power backup, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) machines (devices that allow equipment to keep running in case of power outage), cloud imaging devices, laser and thermal printers, CCTV and thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLD), which measure the radiation levels both patients and medics have been exposed to.
Health Principal Secretary Peter Tum said the machines have a gadget that taps the radiation from the patient, specialists or even someone working in the adjacent room or even walking near the scan machine.
Meanwhile, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki says the equipment will complement government programmes.
“The government is committed to improving health services to all Kenyans by installing a CAT scan machine in 37 counties. They will help hospitals deal with medical emergencies and reduce referrals,” Ms Kariuki said while launching a CT Scan machine at King Fahad Hospital in Lamu County.
Besides imaging services and storage of synchronised patient’ data records in all facilities across the country, the CAT scan centre will also help detect various forms of cancer and other chronic illnesses early.
Radiographers and radiologists can store patients’ images in the cloud, track request and relay real-time status notifications in centres countrywide, all linked and interfaced with the national data centre at Kenyatta National Hospital.
In his Friday address, President Kenyatta said there is great pressure on families to pay medical bills, an issue the government is keen to address.
And since health is a devolved function, the President said, the government will address these challenges in partnership with counties to help them function properly.
“As a government, we want to help counties implement the universal healthcare programme. We are also working with development partners like the World Bank. We want all the 47 counties to rollout the programme,” he said.
“We have to go through all the different motions in the piloting phase to ensure the programme succeeds. At the end of the day, there will be bumps on the road because it has not been done before. But we must start even as we know we might to get everything right on the first time,” President Kenyatta added.
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
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Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
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Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
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