, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 8 – The National Hospital Insurance Fund has extended the deadline for Kenyans to select preferred health facilities to access outpatient services until next Friday.
NHIF Director of Operations and Quality Ambrose Juma Lugho said this has been necessitated by the last minute rush by a majority of Kenyans.
“We are happy and glad that a lot of Kenyans through sensitisation, directly and through stakeholders awareness have increased and that’s the reason why you are seeing the upsurge of numbers. This exercise started last year so we will extend this exercise up to next week on Friday 15,” he said.
He urged Kenyans seeking to benefit from the new cover to select the preferred health facilities to receive treatment at.
The exercise will give some of its members who have in the past faced challenges accessing services to develop a pool of hospitals and health facilities close to them for ease of service delivery.
“I want to assure the Kenyans the facilities on board are facilities that have gone through due diligence and they will be able to deliver. In the event that there challenges they need to walk to the nearest NHIF offices or communicate via email and we will be able to act accordingly,” Lugho said.
A section of Kenyans who had flocked the NHIF Headquarters in Community in a bid to beat the January 8 deadline complained that the announcement was not widely publicized and urged the fund to use the digital platform.
“I didn’t know the deadline was today, I was only told about this yesterday but the NHIF staff are saying the advertised it on newspapers. I read newspapers everyday and I have no idea where they put the advertisement,” Joseph Kioko said told Capital News after picking the forms at NHIF Building where a number of Kenyans were standing in winding queues while other sat on the slabs after as relatives or friends queued at the underground parking lot which had been turned into form submission area.
“The first time I heard about was on Tuesday, the best thing they could have done is if possible it could be done online, it doesn’t make sense for somebody to come spend here half a day to a day filling forms to choose on hospital. This is something that could have been added to the pre-existing information they already have,” Martin Odongo, a trader said.
The NHIF released a list of 1,100 hospitals in May 2015 that Kenyans can access healthcare from as it rolls out a new scheme for members.
Contributors to the National Health Insurance Fund can visit 600 private and mission facilities and 500 public hospitals.
Among the benefits in the enhanced NHIF cover include general consultations with doctors, laboratory tests, drugs, x-ray and ultrasound diagnosis, treatment of sexually transmitted infections, family planning, antenatal and post natal care, clinical counselling services, health and wellness education.
Previously, NHIF offered only in-patient cover including maternity and caesarean section in government hospitals, majority of mission hospitals and some private hospitals. It also covers for dialysis and family planning.