The 3.2 million residents of four countries, namely Isiolo, Machakos, Kisumu and Nyeri will receive free medical services beginning december.
They will also get free service when referred to national referral facilities during the year-long Universal Health Coverage (UHC) pilot programme.
The pilot programme is on the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) paying the full cost of services offered to residents of these countries.
President Uhuru Kenyatta gave the UHC Inter Governmental Committee his approval to finalise the launch plans and also to come up with the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between the ministry of health and four countries.
During the signing of the MoUs, Health secretary Sicily Kariuki said success of the pilot programme in the four counties would give clearance for a full-scale rollout of UHC in the rest of the country.
The four counties will get a Sh3.17 billion conditional grant (each getting Sh800 million) to roll out the programme.
The counties will match the amount with own investments.
About 80 per cent of the money will go into the purchase of drugs and basic medical equipment.
An additional Sh800 million would be allocated to each of the counties for complicated cases that would be referred outside the boundaries of the participating counties.
Ms Kariuki said the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) would play a critical role in the success of the pilot by offering competitive prices of drugs.
Mr Kenyatta also said that “I would like to ask the rest of the counties to continue strengthening their systems and enroll those qualified to the National Hospital Insurance Fund.”
“The decision to pilot the programme in the four counties was evidence-based and joined on disease burdens.
some of the money would be used in hiring community health workers who play a pivotal role in the counties’ health systems,” said Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o.
Nyeri is part of the pilot because it leads in the non-communicable diseases segment, especially diabetes while Isiolo was picked to establish how the package would be suited for nomadic and migratory populations.