NHIF awarded for scheme targeting the poor, elderly

Geoffrey Mwangi, the NHIF chief executive. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Geoffrey Mwangi, the NHIF chief executive. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has won a top award in Africa for its innovative programmes for the poor, old and disabled.

The award by International Social Security Association (ISSA) during the regional forum for Africa held in Ethiopia recognised NHIF as the best in health insurance subsidy programme for the vulnerable.

The programme introduced in 2015 was to ensure that those in dire need of healthcare like the elderly benefit from both in and outpatient care packages through Health Insurance Subsidy Programme (HISP).

The government pays premiums for the poor of Sh500 monthly for a segment whose numbers has increased from 23, 000 in 2015 to the current 160, 000 vulnerable people including their spouses and children.

The fund membership grew by 15.1 per cent last year and crossed the six million mark on the back of a campaign that recruited new members from the informal sector.

“If our government can maintain paying insurance for the less unfortunate and all other informal sector plus formal sector making their premium payments, we shall have no out of pocket payment. This will benefit all,” said Geoffrey Mwangi, the NHIF chief executive.

Mr Mwangi urged more elderly people to register for the scheme since they require more care.

He said slow uptake was making it difficult for older and disabled people in the rural areas to get to know more about it.

New benefits paid by NHIF include chemotherapy for cancer patient, outpatient services, kidney transplant and MRI scan.

The fund was also awarded for being the best in payment of health insurance premiums via mobile money in Africa.