Nairobi, August 30 – Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o has completed working on a cabinet memo for the proposed Social Health Insurance Scheme.,
Nyong’o said he would present the memo to the Prime Ministers office for the cabinet committee and social sector to discuss it before it is taken to cabinet.
He added that the scheme was better than the one which was proposed in 2005 since the government would only make an annual contribution to the fund to support the poor.
“This is the main reason why I am working round the clock to ensure the bill is enacted into law without delay. Previously the lowest contribution was about Sh30 but this time it is going to be Sh40 for the low income earners and will contribute monthly no more than Sh400 depending on their income,” he said.
“But for the high income earners, it will go up to Sh2 000 so someone who earns more than Sh100 000 a month can comfortably pay that.”
In 2004, the then health minister, Charity Ngilu tabled the National Social Health Insurance Fund Bill before parliament. It was passed on December 2004 but President Kibaki declined to sign it into law and returned it to parliament for more deliberations.
The bill sought to provide universal medical cover for all Kenyans.
However there were concerns that the government would be forced to pay more to finance the scheme and employers were supposed to match contributions from their employees.
Nyong’o was addressing journalists where he also said the scheme intended to cover both inpatient and outpatient.
“And what we are aiming at is not to introduce a new law but to amend the National Social Health Insurance fund act of 1998 to ensure higher contribution and wider coverage,” he said.
At the same time, the minister urged nurses to specialize in specified fields while undergoing training.
Nyong’o said if medical institutions in the country offered specialized training, it would also bring more foreign exchange since some would travel from outside the country to seek the education.
“We don’t have nurses specializing in old peoples problems, we have people who acquire the knowledge just simply by working in hospitals but not professionally trained. Another area of training is nurses and doctors specialized in trauma. We have very few of them,” he noted.
He said there was also need to have specialists in the transportation sector.
“I would like to get some nurses be trained as air stewards and vise versa so that when traveling you are assured of someone who can take care of emergency ailments,” he said.
He was speaking at the third graduation ceremony of the Kenya Registered Paediatric Nurses at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital.