In an effort to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the Ruto administration has proposed a new legislation, The Social Health Insurance Bill 2023.
This will lead to the establishment of The Social Health Authority which is set to replace the current National Health Insurance Fund(NHIF). This will therefore require the current NHIF staff to reapply for jobs if the proposed bill passes.
According to the proposed legislation, the new Social Health Authority which according to the bill has been tasked to manage three funds: primary healthcare, chronic and critical illnesses, and emergency healthcare, will be required to absorb NHIF employees based on merit through a competitive recruitment process. NHIF staff will be eligible to apply for the positions advertised by the authority and may be considered for appointment if suitably qualified.
The Board of the Social Health Authority established under section 4 of the Act shall competitively recruit and appoint its staff under section 17 of the Act subject to the approved staff establishment and on such terms and conditions of service as may be determined by the Board,” reads the Bill.
The bill comes against a backdrop of several allegations of corruption activities taking place at the six-decade-old state agency (NHIF) which currently has a staff of around 1800. The National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) has also been accused of among many other things, delaying to disburse of funds to hospitals thus causing most hospitals to delay in provision of healthcare. NHIF has also been accused of failing to adequately cover its members. The Bill according to the government is set to improve access to healthcare services for all Kenyans.
As of June this year, more than 15.4 million Kenyans rely on the National Health Insurance Fund(NHIF) for healthcare, many of them being low-income earners. Many Kenyans are therefore eagerly waiting to see what changes the proposed bill will bring to the Kenyan health sector.
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