What you need to know:
- Under the UHC pilot project, patients were receiving treatment free of charge as the government sought to alleviate the health care burden among residents.
- Nyeri has registered over 800,000 members to the UHC programme.
Nyeri County has suspended free health services to its residents under the Universal Health Coverage programme due to lack of funds.
Registered members received text messages through Mtiba – a mobile wallet service dedicated to healthcare payments – advising them to start updating their payments to the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) in order to continue receiving uninterrupted health services.
Under the UHC pilot project, patients were receiving treatment free of charge as the government sought to alleviate the health care burden among residents.
Nyeri has registered over 800,000 members to the UHC programme.
“We are now reverting to the old way where patients will be charged for every service they receive in their facilities but we plan to give patients a transition period of 60 days to enable them to renew their NHIF,” said a source at the health department.
Nyeri was among four counties piloting the project, which is among President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big Four agenda that was launched in 2018.
The county was selected for the prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer alongside Machakos, Isiolo and Kisumu.
The pilot project was supposed to end on December 13 last year but, an extension was signed by governors of the four counties for extra three months until March 13.
Sources at the health department said the extension was done with no extra resources to cater for operations and the health system strengthening meaning county governments have continued to shoulder the burden.
Since March, Nyeri Country government has committed part of its budgetary allocation to fund the programme as they awaited direction from the national government.
To date, the source said there has been no communication advanced to the counties piloting the project.
“We have strained development and funding to other departments as we channel some funds to finance the free healthcare and it is not sustainable,” noted the source.
The counties have been grappling with poor flow of funds, shortage of personnel against a huge number of patients.