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Economy

NHIF snubbed in Uhuru free health rollout

From left: Deputy President William Ruto,
From left: Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta, opposition chief Raila Odinga and Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyongó during the launch of Universal Healthcare project in Kisumu on Dec 13, 2018. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NMG 

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has been excluded from handling Sh3.1 billion allocated for the universal health coverage (UHC) rolled on Thursday in four counties.

The Treasury will send about Sh2.1 billion or 70 per cent of the funds directly to Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) for the purchase of drugs and essential kits for hospitals in Isiolo, Kisumu, Nyeri and Machakos.

The exclusion of the NHIF was arrived at after the four counties expressed misgivings over governance issues at the fund.

On Tuesday, Geoffrey Mwangi, NHIF chief executive, his predecessor and 16 other officials were also charged with abuse of office an irregular award an extension of a contract in which Sh1.1 billion was lost.

Health Cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki said the NHIF was not able to grow its membership beyond a certain capacity, which would have hindered the start of the universal health coverage this year.

The NHIF's role has been limited to registration of beneficiaries of universal health coverage.

“While the NHIF would be the best to deliver UHC through an insurance-based scheme since the principle around it makes it a sustainable model we decided to have the funds sent to Kemsa directly from the Treasury to ensure the health facilities have drugs and non-pharmaceuticals,” she said.

Ms Kariuki said counties would also offer a list of requirements based on the pattern of diseases in their zones.

The Kemsa would also be expected to deliver the drugs within seven days to the 168 health facilities in Machakos, 127 in Nyeri, 39 in Isiolo and 132 in Kisumu. During the piloting phase, the UHC package will cater for outpatient care such as consultation, mental illness and emergency healthcare.

Inpatient care will include medical and surgical services, enhanced maternal and child health services and enhanced HIV, tuberculosis and malaria treatment.

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