KENYA – Kenya’s Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache has announced that the government has released KES6 billion (US$52M) to the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) for the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme.
The move follows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s introduction of the national scale-up of the Universal Health Coverage with a call to citizens to register for the National Health Insurance Fund.
Universal Health Coverage is one of the Big Four agenda declared by President Kenyatta which will see major policy as well as administrative reforms in the health sector to allow all Kenyans access to quality and affordable medical coverage.
President Uhuru Kenyatta welcomed the passing into law of the NHIF Amendment Act by parliament to facilitate the realization of the UHC goal.
The new Universal Health Coverage policy seeks to eradicate the ‘poverty of dignity’ and transition Kenya into an era where nobody is forced to choose between medical bills and other essential needs.
At least one million Kenyan families have already been registered for the UHC programme since it started and 220,000 more citizens are expected to register in 2022 to enhance access to health services without risking their financial hardship.
The KES 6 billion (US$52M) health allocation comes at a time when Kenya inches towards the target of four million families registering to the NHIF for the UHC programme including health services such as preventive, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care.
Principal Secretary Susan Mochache disclosed that the government was in talks with Kenya’s leading telecommunications service provider Safaricom with a goal to enable Kenyans to make daily payments to NHIF with registered NHIF members paying KES17 per day under the deal.
Susan Mochache acknowledged that all the counties had registered families under the programme, noting that those who piloted the programme had started benefitting.
She further encouraged Kenyans to register with the national health insurer by paying KES 500 (US$4.33) per month in order to access services in public and private health facilities with ease.
“Through the National Hospital Insurance Fund card, the beneficiaries are able to access medical services in various hospitals free of charge,” Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache added.
She stressed that the NHIF would make it easy for Kenyans who can afford medical services to make payments while ensuring that through laws that have been passed by Parliament to the effect that those who can afford must join NHIF so that they are not impoverished because of health issues.
Kenyans were urged to embrace preventive measures in order to be in good health thus avoiding spending too much money seeking medical care in health facilities and expectant mothers to seek medical attention in order to reduce the rate of mother to child HIV transmission.