Get every key player on board for social health insurance to succeed


Susan Nakhumicha, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health gives her remarks at a past event. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Salaried workers will start paying 2.75 percent of their gross monthly salaries towards the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) from July this year after the Court of Appeal suspended the High Court orders halting its implementation.

If well implemented, SHIF holds immense potential for achieving universal health coverage by ensuring equitable access to healthcare, providing financial protection, improving health outcomes, enhancing health infrastructure, promoting preventive healthcare, and fostering efficient healthcare delivery.

However, a lack of synergy among key players in healthcare could see the Fund encounter significant hurdles in achieving its intended purpose of universal healthcare coverage and improving health outcomes for citizens.

The County Government Workers Union, the Institute of Social Accountability, the Informal Sector Workers Union and the Kenya Medical Practitioners And Dentists Union (KMPDU) have criticised the new outfit saying that it shall deny the right to healthcare to a majority of Kenyans who work in the informal sector and render workers contributions towards the comprehensive medical cover inexistent.

Without cohesive coordination, healthcare services may remain fragmented, resulting in inefficiencies and duplication of efforts. This fragmentation could lead to gaps in coverage and uneven distribution of resources, undermining the equitable delivery of healthcare services across different regions and demographics.

Effective coordination is crucial for ensuring that resources are allocated equitably. Without proper collaboration, there is a risk of resources being disproportionately distributed, with certain regions or populations receiving inadequate support while others benefit disproportionately.

KMPDU, for instance, represents the interests of medical practitioners, pharmacists, dentists, and other healthcare workers in Kenya. As frontline providers of healthcare services, their input and support are essential for the effective implementation of SHIF.

In the absence of coordination, different stakeholders may pursue overlapping initiatives or programs, leading to duplication of efforts and wastage of resources.

This duplication can result in inefficiencies and undermine the overall effectiveness of the SHIF in addressing healthcare challenges comprehensively.

Collaboration among stakeholders is essential for establishing and maintaining consistent standards of care and quality across healthcare facilities. Without coordination, there is a risk of varying quality of services being provided, leading to disparities in healthcare outcomes and patient experiences.

Effective coordination among stakeholders facilitates resource mobilization from various sources, including government budgets, donor funding, contributions from beneficiaries, and private sector investments.

A well-coordinated healthcare supply chain ensures improved access to quality healthcare, reducing wastage and losses, enhancing cost-effectiveness, supports data-driven decision-making, ensures consistent availability of essential medicines, medical supplies and equipment, timely procurement, distribution, and replenishment of stocks.

It is imperative for the state, public and private healthcare providers, insurers, government agencies, and civil society organizations to prioritize collaboration and coordination efforts within the healthcare sector by fostering partnerships and working together towards achieving common goals.

The writer is a procurement and contract management consultant.

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