In Summary
  • The Netherlands recently shared with us their model of healthcare, where insurance is paid equally across the board.
  • There are many valid reasons for such omission — like illiteracy, being in a coma or having no one to chase up NHIF.

I was not surprised to get a rejoinder from someone who introduced himself as an NHIF official following the July 1 article in this column, ‘NHIF discrimination is what needs debating, not MPs Pay”.

Nonetheless, it is still my opinion that the national health insurer is discriminatory in its current set-up. Unless we rethink how to roll out NHIF benefits that are accessible to all Kenyans equally regardless of their status in society, we will continue to hurt the poorest citizens by freezing them out of quality healthcare.

The NHIF is the best thing that ever happened to this country and I’ve intimated as such in a few of my previous articles. I truly believe so. But it does not mean that the NHIF is above reproach or that we should accept it warts and all, just to be sycophantic.


I feel concerned enough about the poor level of healthcare in this country to comment on it several times. It is my way of contributing to improving things. In that regard, I always aim to use my column responsibly by informing, educating and criticising wherever necessary.

I’m that citizen and NHIF service user, too, at the end of the day. Neither would I pluck evidence from the air.

That said, I have had interactions for a couple of years now with both public and private hospitals through my mother to warrant my comments. I’ve also interviewed fellow service users.

I understand first-hand the discrepancies in the NHIF benefits. I, therefore, stand by my views and hope that they will help to shape our healthcare for the better. That has always been my intention and always will be.


Having said that, I’m intelligible to labour laws; but that does not mean standing by its rules when they hurt a cross-section of the population. It’s all encouraging for civil servants to benefit from a better NHIF cover by virtue of being government employees, but it does not mean allowing for glaring discrimination against a section of the population on lower NHIF to go on unchallenged.

I, therefore, believe that we must work towards a healthcare scheme that would befit both the President and the pauper.

The Netherlands recently shared with us their model of healthcare, where insurance is paid equally across the board and just about any citizen, regardless of class or creed, can access it.

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) is also based on national insurance contribution by employees and public hospitals get the lion’s share of funding from it. And it benefits all citizens equally.

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