Medics, teachers demand new NHIF board

August 14, 2012 3:37 pm
This comes amidst allegations of corruption and misappropriation of funds by the NHIF caretaker board/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 14 – The Kenya Medical Association (KMA) has threatened to mobilise health facilities to stop offering services to Civil Servants and teachers if NHIF does not pay up claims to facilities in the next seven days.

This comes amidst allegations of corruption and misappropriation of funds by the NHIF caretaker board.

Addressing a press conference, KMA Chairman Elly Nyaim said the national health insurer had defaulted payment to facilities since the caretaker board to office in May.

“Financial and insurance analysts are projecting that the Civil Servants Scheme is currently making a loss and eating into the national social scheme to a tune of Sh381 million. The consequence of this financial distress is already being felt by doctors and healthcare providers whose claims reimbursements are now being delayed. We are opening registers in all our branches to record all what NHIF owes them to monitor progress of settlement of claims,” Nyaim stated.

Speaking at the same briefing, Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Chairman Wilson Sossion demanded that a new board of NHIF be constituted within seven days and immediate investigations launched against the caretaker board chairman Mutuma Mugambi and the former acting CEO Adan Adan.

“And what we are demanding is the constitution of a board in accordance with the (NHIF) Act and not a caretaker board because a caretaker does not have powers to exercise many functions and the longer we have a caretaker in place the more we are exposing the NHIF to greater risks,” Sossion insisted.

Sossion, who was the Vice Chairman of the initial board that was disbanded following claims of misappropriation, said the fund had been thrown into “undeserved confusion” with all the intricacies happening since the suspension of the board and Chief Executive Officer in May.

“It is riddled by mishandling by the government and as critical stakeholders of the fund we have consulted very extensively and we think at this point in time the truth must be told so that Kenyans of goodwill, even the workers of this country can come out and protect the NHIF,” Sossion remarked.

The High Court last month suspended the caretaker board saying the President had acted in non compliance with the NHIF act in appointing the caretaker committee in May.

The caretaker’s term ended on August 8th.

“NHIF cannot be run by a section of this society, it must be run by all critical stakeholders,” Sossion insisted.

Both associations also questioned why the Acting CEO Adan Adan insisted on staying in office even after the Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o sacked him on 31st July.

A letter from the Minister stated that Kenyatta National Hospital Chief Executive Officer Richard Lesiyampe would hold brief in the office until the matters were resolved.

“I hereby revoke your appointment as Acting Chief Executive Officer of NHIF with immediate effect. This letter conveys my decision to terminate your duties and responsibilities as the Acting Chief Executive Officer at NHIF,” the letter to Adan stated in part.

It further read: “Please hand over to Mr Lesiyampe on or before end of business on 31st July, 2012 at the absolute latest.”

The two associations also accused Adan and the caretaker board of misappropriating huge amounts of money in their short term in office including payment of Sh3.7 million for an advert in the USA today newspaper without following proper public procurement procedures and payment of Sh353 million to private insurance companies.

They were also accused of holding frequent board meetings with an aim of drawing allowances and irregular higher salaries had been paid to some senior officials.

“Recruitment of 34 relatives and friends as new members of staff did not follow due process and approval of 77 facilities that were not licensed by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist board,” they alleged.

KMA and KNUT now want an independent financial audit and actuarial evaluation of the Civil Servants scheme carried out urgently.


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