In Summary
  • The public trust in the NHIF need to be urgently restored through a well-designed strategy to increase awareness on the services covered.

  • From the financial data available, it’s quite clear that almost half of the NHIF funds are inappropriately used.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s pledge to deliver universal health coverage (UHC) by 2022 is a tough act to pull off.

While he should be hailed for attempting to hit the target eight years ahead of the global goal of 2030, Kenyans have pointed questions about how to get there that fast.

A key element to UHC is affordability. Kenyans are inundated with requests to contribute to one medical harambee or the other.

Kenyans must access the health services that they need without auctioning their assets or begging.

The government’s target of 100 per cent UHC in five years for all households by enrolling 13 million Kenyans and their beneficiaries in the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) is ambitious. It should first rebuild the NHIF.

However, we must not let this motivation compromise quality. It is too risky to leave the health of all Kenyans in the hands of the premier national health financing scheme.

FACE DANGER

We face the danger of erratically increasing payroll taxes and contributions with little attention to the availability of basic primary healthcare and specialist health services thanks to a fragmented and unresponsive health system.

First, we must shake up the weak NHIF accountability and governance structures, which hinder the success of a seamless rollout of UHC.

We must tackle all the challenges to proper implementation of the coverage. These include systemic delays in reimbursing health providers, false claims from some providers and poor quality of care in some facilities.

The public trust in the NHIF need to be urgently restored through a well-designed strategy to increase awareness on the services covered.

From the financial data available, it’s quite clear that almost half of the NHIF funds are inappropriately used.

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