Govt targets informal sector for medical cover

September 19, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 19 – The Ministry of Health has emphasised the need to recruit those in the informal sector into health insurance schemes.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Medical Services, James Ole Kiyiapi on Saturday said that it was regrettable that over 11 million adults in the informal sector and their dependants had no health insurance cover.

“While those in the formal sector have statutory national insurance cover, a majority of the Kenyan population cannot access medical care because they lack insurance,” he explained.

He added that those in the informal sector needed education on the importance of medical covers holding that NHIF had established an insurance cover for the self employed as well as those in the informal sector.

“They are not aware that National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) can provide the solution to their lack of access to quality medical care. We hope that through marketing campaigns, Kenyans will realise the benefits of health insurance,” Prof Kiyiapi said.

“This segment of the population needs our collective and concerted effort to bring them on board. The insurance scheme started by NHIF has also removed age limits for retirees to encourage them to apply for the cover.”

Prof Kiyiapi asked health insurance providers to cater for the needy stating that they also required the medical cover.

“All players in the health care system in this country should strive to play their rightful role of taking care of our people who form the most important national asset,” he said.

He said the government is upbeat to provide health insurance through NHIF to about 13.5 million adult Kenyans in a bid to make healthcare more affordable.

Prof Kiyiapi stated that the government was focusing on eradicating all preventable diseases through strengthening primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services.

“As a ministry we are committed to assisting the needy communities in accessing healthcare. In this regard, we have made efforts as a government in the last four years to improve access and quality of healthcare services to Kenyans,” he noted.

“We have taken measures such as free treatment for maternity cases, provision of ARVs and subsidised medical costs on healthcare services in all government hospitals.”

The PS commended NHIF for its contribution towards improving accessibility of medical services by providing ambulances to various government and faith based organizations.

Prof Kiyiapi was speaking during the flagging off of a road show covering the populous areas of Dandora, Githurai, Mathare and Roysambu. The purpose of the road show was to create awareness on the importance of medical insurance covers.


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