Efforts to put all Kenyans on medical insurance cover have moved a step closer after the government set up an advisory team to work out the finer details of the scheme.
Through a gazette notice, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has set up a 15-member panel, chaired by Gilbert Kokwaro, to design and evaluate Kenya's universal health coverage (UHC).
The panel, with Kenneth Munge and Mercy Mwangangi as joint secretaries, also has a member from the Treasury and World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative Rudi Eggers.
Other members include Joseph Wang’ombe , Edwine Barasa , Julius Kipkemoi Korir, Chrisostim Wafula, Gerald Macharia, Elly Nyaim Opot, Grace Githemo, Mercy Mugo, John Paul Omollo, Meshack Ndolo, James Muriithi Ndwiga, and Andrew Mulwa. Among other things, the team will decide which services, drugs and commodities to be included in the UHC package.
It also has to determine the unit cost and premiums payable. Mrs Kariuki said the team will propose service provider payment rates and estimate the cost of offering selected health services in both public and private hospitals to guide an appropriate mix of incentives to service providers.
The panel also has the duty of developing a uniform pricing strategy “that will be affordable and efficient for all Kenyans.” UHC is part of President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big Four Agenda and the government has identified the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) as the vehicle for financing the sector. Government officials are working to ensure that all Kenyans’ health needs are taken care of.