Smallholder dairy farmers thronged in numbers to witness the launch of Tanykina Community Healthcare Plan (TCHP) designed for the members of Tanykina Dairy Plant Limited and their dependents. The health care package provides both primary and secondary health care to Tanykina members and their households and it includes amongst others outpatient and inpatient care (minor surgery and maternity care), HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria treatment and treatment against the most common basic chronic diseases.
The people of Tanykina have been paying for medical scheme out of their pocket and this situation has been a contributing factor towards poverty in the area. The healthcare systems in the past were unable to efficiently deliver quality healthcare and in most cases the patients would be referred to other health facilities which were a distant away. Pregnant mothers for instance were unable to deliver their children in the facilities and had to be referred to Moi Teaching and Refferral Hospital in Eldoret, some 30 Kms away from Kipkaren Division.
The public health facilities had shortcomings ranging from shortage in medical supplies, deteriorating infrastructures and lack of equipment for running important tests such as malaria and upper respiratory diseases.
To address these challenges the Health Insurance Fund and its implementing partners PharmAccess and Africa Air Rescue (AAR) provided medical healthcare schemes for low and middle income groups in sub Saharan Africa. The Tanykina Community Healthcare Plan is the first scheme supported by the Health Insurance Fund launched in Kenya. Through the TCHP, health facilities within the Tanykina catchment area have been upgraded to provide quality health care. These new facilities are located at Kaiboi, Kaigat, Chepkemel, Kabiemit and Chepterwai. The TCHP also provides referrals to 2 quality referrals facilities: AAR Clinic in Eldoret and the Moi Teaching & Referral Hospital.
AAR’s contribution in this partnership is the extensive service its offering across Africa with systemized clinical history and benefit administration for all members. The well trained workforce has contributed to the steady implementation of the program as well as AAR’s partnerships with various providers i.e. doctors, specialists and hospitals across the country. The short term objectives of the partnership include building local financial, administrative and medical capacity in the public and private healthcare sector among others. In the long term the partnership is to develop a sustainable model fostering increased access to basic healthcare services for currently uninsured people with low and middle income.
The launch of the medical scheme was presided by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E Laetitia van den Assum, assisted by Area Member of Parliament, Heifer International Country Director, Health Insurance Fund representative, Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation,Ministry of Medical services and AAR CEO amongst others.
In her speech, H.E the Ambassador emphasised on the importance of the health of dairy farmers and the need for each and every person to take it up as a responsibility. H.E also admired and acknowledged the work done by Tanykina Dairy Plant Limited especially on the role played by the dairy sector in rural household development in Kenya. “And since Netherlands is a great believer of the private sector we plan to pay more attention than before. If you are in the private sector it’s important to ensure that healthcare is a vital component.” Said the Ambassador. In her concluding remarks Her Excellency emphasised the correlation of health facilities and the economy of the people. “Health insurance will ensure that dairy farmers are not reduced to poverty because of the cost of medical care.” She said.
Speaking on behalf of Heifer International, Country Director Alex Kirui, stated Heifers role in the dairy industry and its approach in building strong farmer institutions that will ensure farmers enjoy holistic services such as health, education and other social amenities.
The Area Member of Parliament, Hon. David Koech noted that dairy farmers were hard working and was evident in the progress so far in the area. Despite the challenges in water, the Dairy Plant has been the driving force behind the developments in the area. Hon. Koech also acknowledged the role played by Heifer International in boosting the division and opening it up for developmental partners from and outside the country.
Tanykina is a dairy plant with 4,000 active principal members. It is a relevant income earner for as many as 20,000 people in the area, active members and their families. The health care plan is offered to all the members and their families of the Tanykina Dairy Plant Limited on a voluntary basis. Family enrolment is however compulsory to avoid adverse selection. The members contribution of the TCHP is deducted at the end month from his milk account. With a low cost starting at Kshs. 375 (USD 4.5) for a 1 person family size to a maximum of Kshs. 1,499 (USD 18.06) for a 7 or more family size, the TCHP ensures that as many members can access this unique healthcare plan.