TAITA TAVETA, Kenya, Jul 9 – The County Government of Taita Taveta has initiated a health financing mechanism in a bid to promote access to quality healthcare by protecting those who are economically vulnerable.
To ensure that the cost barrier to access Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is eliminated through enrolment of citizens to NHIF scheme, the County Government has set aside Sh40 million in the 2018/2019 financial year to fund the programme.
Speaking when signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AMREF Kenya and NHIF to carry out socio-economic status profiling exercise, the Deputy Governor Majala Mlagui reiterated that the county government is committed to fulfilling requirements set to achieving UHC.
“UHC is embedded in three pillars; equity in access to health services, access to affordable healthcare and protection against financial risk for the most vulnerable through health financing,” said Mlagui.
She further added that: “This mechanism is a response to providing the assurance that the health services that the people need are available, affordable and of good quality and prevents people from being driven into poverty as a result of paying for health services out of their own pocket.”
The County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Health Service Frank Mwangemi emphasized that the involvement and effective communication among all partners is the key tool to achieve the UHC objectives.
“The link with the community cannot be ignored, we are hopeful that as we move forward everyone will get involved with NHIF because that is the only social insurance which is going to make a difference,” said Mwangemi.
In the process, Community Health Workers (CHWs) will be in the fulcrum to champion for NHIF enrolment at households, they will be given “honoraria” or “token” payments as a way of acknowledging their support.
“When we have CHWs at the fore front of enrolling people into NHIF we are making use of the best people in the community. Because we are agents of NHIF we get commission depending on the enrolment and part of this commission will go to them since they are not paid therefore motivating them to go beyond just the NHIF enrolment to carrying out health education and referrals,” Amref Enterprise General Manager, Frasia Karua said.
Immediately after the socio-economic profiling, NHIF will start registering the most vulnerable people in the county to start benefiting from the programme.
Already the county department of health services in collaboration with NHIF has sensitized health management teams, community heath workforce and 180 opinion leaders from the 20 Wards on the importance of health financing through NHIF insurance cover to accelerate this process.
The community health workforce together with opinion leaders across the county have scheduled community sensitization forums which are ongoing since 28th June to 28th July 2018 with an objective of creating public awareness on health rights and the responsibilities of households in taking care of their own and their family members’ health.