President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on Parliament to hasten legislation on universal health coverage (UHC) so as to ensure that all Kenyans have access to quality health services.

The President noted that a majority of Kenyans are unable to afford quality health services, saying UHC will only be achieved through the rollout of a comprehensive mass health insurance scheme.

On Covid-19, the President, who spoke Thursday during this year’s National Prayer Breakfast at Parliament Buildings, said the pandemic was a wake-up call on Kenyans to continue pulling together in search of solutions to challenges facing the country.

“Today the only message I have for the leadership of both the Senate and the National Assembly is that there are proposals before you that will ensure that every Kenyan is able to have access to health insurance because it is the basis of us being able to offer universal healthcare.

“Please expedite this piece of legislation that will allow us to ensure that our people are properly catered for, not just during times of the pandemic,” President Kenyatta said.

The President commended the keynote speaker at the annual ecumenical service Peter Waiyaki for his message of hope and called on Kenyans to always practise what is right.

“This is where we are all meant to be now after we have been confronted by the Covid-19 pandemic, a sign that we need to work together and keep spreading the message of hope,” the President said.

Several national leaders among them former Vice Presidents Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi attended this year’s service whose theme was, “A hopeful Future”.

Deputy President Dr William Ruto, who also spoke at the event, said the National Prayer Breakfast was a call for leaders and the entire country to turn to God, and reason together after rising from the health crisis of a magnitude and severity never witnessed in the last 100 years.

“Much has happened but as things stand today, there has been a stop to all political activities, and this is a sign that we need to listen to our religious leaders. Maybe this is a sign of God telling us to ‘come, let us reason together,” DP Ruto said.

Dr Ruto commended President Kenyatta for his leadership through the Covid-19 crisis, saying the country was handling the pandemic extremely especially on the implementation of the various disease containment measures and the roll out the mass vaccination exercise.

Despite the socio-economic slowdown occassioned by the pandemic, Dr Ruto noted that the country had achieved several key milestones among them the launch of the first berth at the new Lamu Port and the historical swearing in of Kenya’s first woman Chief Justice.

“Even in the midst of this pandemic, we have had positive things happen. We got our first female Chief Justice, the government launched the Lamu port and also our speaker got an appointment with the elders,” DP Ruto.

In his keynote address, lawyer Peter Waiyaki said Kenya had historic moments of great hope, expectation and renewal since independence in 1963, which have been drowned by despair due to poverty, disease, corruption among other social ills over the last 60 years.

Noting that there was still hope for a better Kenya, the lawyer called on leaders and wananchi alike to embrace the fundamental ideals of integrity, patriotism, justice and fear of God in order to restore hope in the country.

Speakers of Kenya’s bicameral parliament Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Kenneth Lusaka (Senate), Chief Justice Martha Koome and Busia Senator Amos Wako were among several speakers at the event.