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Doctors attend to a patient at a Kenyan hospital/XINHUA-File


Pressure mounts for new NHIF scheme to be stopped

Doctors attend to a patient at a Kenyan hospital/XINHUA-File

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 6 – As the government prepares to appoint a caretaker committee at the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has called for the suspension of the new medical scheme.

KMPDU said the suspension of the scheme, which recently incorporated civil servants, will save taxpayers Sh300 million every quarter. The union rejected new NHIF rates that take effect this month, which it said will force members to pay more for poor medical infrastructure and equally poor services.

The union’s chairman Victor Ng’ani said the NHIF failed to properly consult stakeholders before rolling out the new scheme which eventually led to the disbursement of millions of shillings to substandard and non-existent health facilities.

“In the first quarter NHIF paid out more than Sh600 million. Nearly half of this amount went to two institutions namely Clinix and Meridian (Medical Center). At the time this money was paid out, more than half of all the clinics under these institutions did not exist,” he revealed.

A key provision under the medical scheme that was launched in January this year is unlimited inpatient and outpatient cover in accredited hospitals that was earmarked at an initial annual cost of Sh4.2 billion.

A list provided by the KMPDU revealed at least eight private non-existent clinics that have received funds so far, including RVR Building Clinix (Sh8.4 million), Likoni Coast Clinix (Sh4.08 million), Kiambu Town Clinix (Sh3.26 million) and Ongata Rongai Clinix (Sh4.26 million).

KMPDU secretary general Boniface Chitayi noted the blatant discrepancy in the allocation of funds to private hospitals that received twice or three times more compared to public hospitals like the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), the country’s largest referral hospital that received Sh1.01 million.

“KNH, with 26 departments handling thousands of patients daily only received Sh1 million, while Meridian Medial Center in Kisumu, which handles, on a busy day, on average 20 patients received Sh4, 874,500. Mbagathi District Hospital has been allocated only Sh61,000. It does not make sense, it’s a mockery,” he said.

KMPDU called for the recovery of inappropriately disbursed funds and urged that further allocation be immediately halted.

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Meanwhile, Youth Assistant Minister Kabando wa Kabando on Sunday called on Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o to resign over the NHIF scandal.

In his Facebook page, Kabando accused the minister of ‘showing his defensive hand.’

“He should resign or quickly sacked in lieu for abetting fraud,” Kabando stated.

He opined that objective investigations could not be done while Nyong’o was still the Minister.

“Don’t just step aside, go home completely,” he said.

Nyong’o on Thursday reinstated the Fund’s Chief Executive Officer Richard Kerich, after he was suspended by the Board Chairman Richard Muga to allow for investigations.

At the weekend, the Head of the Public Service Francis Kimemia dissolved the entire board and announced a caretaker committee would be named this week.

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