, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 4 – Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu has suspended the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) decision to limit outpatient visits in hospitals to only four per year.
Mailu told Capital FM News that the decision follows public outcry and will be effective immediately until further notice.
The Health Cabinet Secretary stated that in the meantime, further consultations will be held between the NHIF board and other stakeholders to find a more permanent solution.
“There was a public outcry regarding the matter and following this I have suspended the decision with immediate effect and we will now engage in dialogue,” he stated.
He stated that in the meantime, patients should continue benefiting from the services as it has been the case before.
Majority of Kenyans on social media had termed the NHIF decision as unfair, arguing that it’s not practical for a patient to be allowed only four outpatient visits per year.
NHIF Chief Executive Geoffrey Mwangi had initially said the change will ensure contributors access primary healthcare at any accredited hospital countrywide.
He stated that initially, if members had chosen a facility that does not operate 24-hours, they could not access services at any time of the day from any NHIF-accredited facility.
The NHIF boss emphasised that one card will only serve up to four hospital visits in 12 months, meaning that its more than 6.5 million members may be forced to foot a large part of the bills from their pockets.