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Doctors lobby demands quick probe into NHIF

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 11-The Kenya Medical Association (KMA) is now demanding that investigations into the misappropriation of funds at the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) be accelerated and the findings be made public.

This follows the eruption of a fresh scandal at the NHIF following the appointment of a new managing director and reports that Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o is making arrangements to appoint a new board.

Speaking to Capital FM News at the Association’s headquarters in Upper Hill, KMA National Chairman Elly Nyaim said all those found culpable should be reprimanded.

“Activities at the NHIF demonstrate the culture of impunity that continues to pervade public administration despite the passage of the new constitution…we demand that investigations into the misappropriations of funds at NHIF be expedited and findings made public,” he said adding that former officials of the Fund should only be reinstated after they are cleared.

Nyaim says that the government must move with speed to reconstitute the caretaker body so that it fulfills the mandate which ought to have lasted three months

The High Court early in July suspended the caretaker committee on grounds that it was illegally constituted by President Kibaki, a decision that the government has already appealed.

Controversy surrounding NHIF management board took a new twist after Nyong’o appointed director of administration Simeon ole Kirgotty to head the organisation.

According to KMA, the NHIF should overhaul the capitation model in which advance payment is made to comply with the requirements of the NHIF Act, which provides for payment for services rendered.

Former caretaker board chairman Adan Adan was reinstated back to the Ministry at the end of July.

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The president gazetted a new caretaker board for the Fund on May 9 this year following the suspension of the entire board and Chief Executive Officer Richard Kerich over a multi-billion shilling scandal involving the civil servants’ health scheme.

They were accused of disbursing funds of the Sh4.3 billion civil servants scheme to non-existent and ill- equipped health facilities.

Last month, efforts by Nyong’o to singly reinstate Richard Kerich were thwarted after a section of legislators opposed the move. Nyong’o was compelled to rescind the move.

KMA says that the contributory healthcare financing system should be overhauled and a health tax to finance universal healthcare for all Kenyans introduced.

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