, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 9 – Seventy seven percent of Kenyans would prefer to have health insurance as opposed to a monthly medical allowance of Sh500, according to a household survey by Ipsos Synovate.
It found that 19 percent expressed preference for the Sh500 per month.
The survey showed that 88 percent of people in Central province preferred the medical cover over in cash while Nairobi came in second with 82 percent.
Respondents in Nyanza and Western provinces registered a 77 percent preference for a medical insurance cover.
Joel Lehmann, Synovate’s Senior Research Manager on healthcare matters said most of those who preferred medical insurance are aged between 25-44 years.
“It is worthy of note that middle aged people who are in the most productive years (25-44 years) appear to see more value in health insurance than the younger and the older,” Lehmann pointed out.
The survey further showed that only 31 percent of Kenyan households would prefer to call a doctor first than go to see him directly if they had less expensive health insurance.
“One thing medical insurers are looking for always is a way to reduce the cost of each policy like by calling a doctor first before the actual visit but the way things stand now it doesn’t seem to be very acceptable,” explained Lehman.
According to the survey, Central province recorded the highest number of people who had been diagnosed with diabetes per household, hitting nine percent while Western and Nyanza provinces came in second and third at seven percent respectively.
Synovate will team up with the Kenya Healthcare Federation to conduct in depth research on the health sector with the first comprehensive report expected in March.
“We want to keep a close eye on critical indicators and we want to talk about issues, not just politics,” stated Lehmann.
The main indicators to be tracked by the healthcare monitor are: non-communicable diseases, medical insurance coverage, drug supply chain, health service delivery and the impact of ill health.
Already, the study conducted in December 2011 showed that a normal Kenyan family breadwinner misses work on average on 5.6 days a year.
With about 8.8 million households in the country coupled by the assumption that the breadwinners work for up to eight hours a day the survey concluded that around 394,240,000 hours of work are lost every year in Kenya due to illness.