By Lorraine Anyango
One man ensured over142, 563 lives have health insurance, 49 facilities were prepared to serve them, a dashboard with real-time data adopted by the county leadership, and over a million people registered during UHC in Kisumu County.
This man, John C martin though late, was today honored in a colorful ceremony at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral hospital (JOOTRH). A celebration marked with Champaign and cake cutting, dance and poetry.
The Kisumu County Leadership, the JOOTRH hospital board, and PharmAccess honored Martin by unveiling a road named after him within the hospital’s campus.
The signing ceremony was attended virtually by John Martin’s life Partner, Lilian Lou, the Director of John Martin Foundation the governor of Kisumu Prof Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, PharmAccess country director Dr. Wasunna Owino, and Nicole Spieker, PharmAccess CEO and the teams managing the JMF supported projects, among other dignitaries.
In-person attendance was led by Chief Officer Health and Sanitation, Dr. Greggory Ganda, the chair of JOOTRH finance Committee, Mr. Festus Achilla, CEO JOOTRH Dr. George Rae, and Millicent Olulo, lead Advocacy & Partnerships Director, PharmAccess among others.
Ms. Lilian said that the work done by Martin was geared at inspiring future action, adding that he was a down-to-earth person who delighted in people making an impact.
Joyed Lilian appreciated what the honor accorded to her late life partner adding that the foundation will carry on its work.
“Universal means all, through John Martins contribution, 30 percent of our population that could not pay premiums are now on NHIF, we have gone through a journey of learning with the setting up of Marwa Kisumu solidarity health cover and we have succeeded. Governor Prof Nyongo said.
He said that the first coin put into Marwa by Martin has revolutionized the way the country thought of UHC, “We began a journey in Kisumu, we took lessons, we fell, we stood, the whole county watched and our journey birthed policy, the NHIF act being implemented across Kenya.” Dr. Ganda said.
He added that at the entrance of JOOTRH stand John Martin Boulevard, in memory of an organization led by a man who wanted to, make a difference.
Nicole said that they are celebrating the support they have been able to accord to Kisumu County and that inclusive health care was a major gain to Kisumu County and that it could transform Kenya as a whole.
She added that the support from Martin enabled the county to deal with the covid-19 Pandemic in a unique way adding that most vulnerable people have access to health care and that the work will continue.
Dr. Wasunna said that the 80 percent comprising of the vulnerable and the informal sector initially excluded from insurance coverage because they dint have money to pay for premiums are now covered thanks to efforts by the Kisumu County, PharmAcess, and Carepay.
Dr. Wasunna added that the setting up of the Marwa Kisumu Solidarity health cover was with a keen emphasis on data and inclusivity availing lessons for the upscale of the National Universal health courage in Kenya. He said that Kisumu County has a request to benchmark social protection programs.
Mr. Achila said that Marwa has been beneficial to JOOTRH as it has contributed to the hospitals’ revenue.
The setting of the scheme in 2021, was enabled through funding from the John Martin Foundation set up by the late John C Martin, the funding was availed to Kisumu County through PharmAccess Foundation.
The late Martin is the former chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences, he funded the kick start of Marwa to ensure vulnerable groups are integrated into health insurance coverage using the digital platform.
At the height of the covid -19 pandemic, Funding from the John Martin Foundation supported the county department of health and sanitation to implement a technologically coordinated response and communication on covid 19. The success of this initiative has been replicated across 14 LREB counties, supporting a population of 15 million people.