Cord leader Raila Odinga
Counties should work with the national government to transform the health sector, ODM leader Raila Odinga has said.
Raila observed that the quality of healthcare would improve if there was collaboration and more people had access to affordable health insurance.
The ODM leader said that too many Kenyans could not afford treatment.
Speaking on Thursday when he closed the Lake Region Health Investment Conference, Raila said disease was rife in the lake region.
“Time has come for our country to bring about a complete transformation of the health sector. This creates room for new thinking, away from the old mindset that has bedeviled this critical sector since independence,” said Raila.
“The time has come for Kenya to roll out a medical scheme, including health insurance, that is capable of delivering quality healthcare services to all our people,” he said.
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He explained that a recent survey by the University of Nairobi found that about 17 per cent of those who reported they were ill did not seek treatment. More than 50 per cent quoted lack of money as the main hindrance.
The Opposition leader said publicly financed health insurance schemes can improve access to health services and protect households from high medical expenses.
He said this would shield patients from being exploited by hospitals and insurance companies that were overcharging the sick.
“We must bridge the gap between rural and urban population with regard to access to affordable healthcare facilities by building and managing hospitals and clinics in areas where majority of our people live. We should aim at ensuring that in the next five years, the big cities and urban centres won’t be the only ones with access to excellent health facilities, and people won’t have to travel from their villages, in search of good doctors and hospitals.”
Keynote speaker Prof Sam Ongeri said that although a great deal had been achieved, a lot more needs to be done as too many people in the country is still ravaged in by communicable and non-communicable diseases and the effects of HIV/Aids especially in the lake region counties.