Governors of the North Rift Economic Bloc (NOREB) counties are set to sign the intergovernmental agreement with the National Government on the rolling out and the implementation of the Universal Health Coverage in the region.
Speaking on Wednesday in Eldoret, NOREB Governors led by the Bloc interim Chairperson Jackson Mandago unanimously pledged their support towards the successful implementation of the Universal Health coverage plan, one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda.
While noting that challenges are expected in the implementation of new programmes, the Governors highlighted issues in the agreement which they termed as pertinent, and said needed to be addressed if the UHC programme was to roll out successfully in a sustainable way.
The county leaders expressed some concerns ahead of the signing exercise which will be held in Nairobi tomorrow.
They raised their concerns over the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency(KEMSA) pointing out that the agency has no capacity to supply the ordered medicines and other medical commodities.
According to the governors, KEMSA order fill rate is approximately 65-70% with a lot of delays.
“It is the wish of the Counties that there should be a way out to procure supplies not supplied by KEMSA and during emergencies,” said the governors in a joint statement.
They want counties to be allowed to procure specific drugs from MEDS due to the better efficacy of the drugs procured by the entity.
NOREB further stated that counties have no capacity to pay the stipend of community health volunteers and now want the national government to take up the responsibility of paying them.
Further the county bosses want devolved units to be given the opportunity to choose the cadres of interns to be employed as per their needs.
“There is an urgent need for consultations and agreement on how to retain the interns at the end of their contract period to avoid the disruption of service delivery,” they said in their statement.
The governors also want counties to be allocated the UHC funds directly and be allowed to plan as per their needs.
“The implementation of UHC in the counties should not interfere with the counties’ resource mobilization strategies for future sustainability of UHC in the counties,” read part of the communique.
Also highlighted is formula for sharing of the health medical technology products funds to the counties which they want to be changed to; 60% being shared equally among all the counties and 40% to be based on workload. Under the UHC agreement it has been a 40:60 ratio has been proposed.
During the consultative meeting, the Noreb governor also requested that the National government take up payment of salaries for doctors on training as it is role of the National government.
They also pointed out that payment for select services in health facilities was a source of revenue for the County government. And following the scraping of the user fees, county governments should be given funds equivalent to their collections which will now cease.
Other issues raised include strengthening of NHIF to enable even remote facilities to be able to register and make claims and fast tracking the ICT technology roll out in the management of health service delivery.
The meeting was attended by Governors; Jackson Mandago(Uasin Gishu) , Josphat Nanok(Turkana) , John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot) , Stanley Kiptis(Baringo) and Stephen Sang(Nandi).
Also present were County Executive Committee Members in charge of health from the bloc.