830K People Stranded as Governor Scraps Uhuru's Free Healthcare Project

President Uhuru Kenyatta (third left) with other leaders during the launch of the Universal Health Care programme in Kisumu in December 2018.
President Uhuru Kenyatta (third left) with other leaders during the launch of the Universal Health Care programme in Kisumu in December 2018.

Some 830,000 residents in Nyeri County have been left stranded after Governor Mutahi Kahiga, on Tuesday, August 25, scrapped the Universal Health Care project.

Speaking to the press, the governor disclosed that the project was facing financial hurdles, having cost the county in excess of Ksh400 million.

The project, which was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018, targeted over 830,000 people in Nyeri County and saw 716,947 registered as beneficiaries from 349,901 households.

The project provided free medical services in any level four and level five hospitals in the county and saw a 23% spike in those who sought treatment from the hospitals.

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga
Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga
Daily Nation

"It is Karatina, Mt Kenya Hospital, Mukurweini and Othaya. In this particular time, we must have spent in excess of between Ksh300 million and Ksh400 million," he stated. 

Since the project kicked off, the state disbursed Ksh780 million to the county and Nyeri had to raise Ksh2.7 billion to keep the project running.

In 2020 alone, the county received Ksh130 million from the state and raised Ksh400 million towards the project.

David Munene, a community health volunteer in Majengo Slums, confirmed that running of the project had been successful since he had convinced some residents to actively seek treatment in hospitals.

"We talked to the residents and urged them to visit hospitals since the services were free and the people were used to it. We are shocked to learn it is no more," he told Citizen TV.

One patient who suffered from Cancer disclosed that since joining the UHC programme, she had been saved Ksh 5,600 which she would have paid for medication as well as doctor's fees.

With the service now scrapped, the beneficiaries will have to go into their own pockets to revive their National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) cards to cater for their treatments.

In December 2018, Kenyatta launched the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Pilot Program dubbed Afya Care – Wema wa Mkenya to enable Kenyans access affordable healthcare.

The pilot was launched in four counties including Kisumu, Isiolo, Nyeri and Machakos which provided free services at government hospitals.

Some of the services that did not attract charges were emergency serviceschildmaternal, and mental health.

Beneficiaries were also offered other critical services including infectious disease management, non-communicable diseases management, inpatient, outpatient and community health services.

Below is the video courtesy of Citizen TV:

{"preview_thumbnail":"/files/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/gg5K8xtvW7k.jpg?itok=w0vmVbKe","video_url":"","settings":{"responsive":1,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (Responsive)."]}