, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 30 – The Ministry of Medical Services has appointed a new National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) board.
Minister Anyang Nyong’o told journalists on Thursday that the board will be revealed and sworn into office once the appointments are gazetted.
The minister had, earlier this month, asked stakeholders to nominate new board members.
“We have appointed a new board and we are in the process of gazetting it so once this happens I will call the new members and inaugurate them,” he said.
Nyong’o also maintained that Simeon Kirgotty has taken over the controversy-ridden fund as the new Chief Executive Officer from outgoing acting CEO Adan A. Adan.
He added that Adan would face disciplinary action for not resuming his post as the Director of Administration at the Medical Services ministry.
“He did not defy my order but he has not reported back to where he should report and of course steps would be taken to deal with any civil servant who does not behave according to civil servant regulations,” Nyong’o said.
“I know that Kirgotty is there so anybody who tries to impersonate him as the CEO will be dealt with accordingly,” he stressed.
Adan took over the leadership mantle at the NHIF in an acting capacity when corruption scandals involving the Fund were unearthed mid this year.
Nyong’o further refuted reports that the leadership wrangles at the NHIF had derailed the fund’s operations.
“There is a difference between leadership at the NHIF and the works that the fund is supposed to conduct. These works are going on and have been going on; the changes at the board do not affect anything,” he argued.
Nyong’o also said that the government was in the process of reviewing financial systems at public hospitals to synchronise them with the duties carried out by medical personnel.
He urged the medical practitioners to remain patient as the government worked towards reviewing their salary discrepancies.
“There seems to be a seasonal striking in this country. Doctors are striking, teachers are striking…but I think this strike season will be over soon,” he told journalists.
“You don’t solve any problem by going on strike and I do not think we want a medical profession that is strike happy,” he emphasised.
Nyong’o spoke after opening a workshop on universal medical coverage in Nairobi.
During the meeting, he pointed out that close to 40 percent of Kenyans do not seek medical attention due to the costs while others opt for non conventional methods.
“Even in public health facilities where services are highly subsidised, user fees form a major proportion of overall financing of services because grants from the Treasury are inadequate,” he said.
He added that public health facilities had accumulated over Sh1 billion in unpaid user fees because of poverty.
The minister also observed that the NHIF’s growth rate remained slow because the contributions made were too little compared to the services sought.
“It is untenable that Kenyans should expect a meaningful healthcare package from a mere Sh320 a month. Some of the stakeholders feel that they need to see change before contributions are revised but what change can Sh320 per head make?” he asked.
He also noted that only about 700,000 people from the informal sector currently contributed to the fund.