NHIF told not pay for Karen project study

Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 00:00 -- BY FRANCIS MUREITHI

The government has instructed the National Hospital Insurance Fund not to pay the Sh7.2 billion which was being demanded as consultation fee for the proposed NHIF Karen hospital.

Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia yesterday said the purported consultancy services fee was alarmingly high.

“After a process of due diligence, the ministry of Health’s position on the said proposed NHIF Karen Hospital project is that we shouldn’t pay, can’t pay and therefore won’t pay the claims for the purported consultancy services, which, alarmingly, now stands at Sh7.2 billion,” said Macharia in a statement.

“The decision has been taken in order to protect the hard earned public funds, notwithstanding any consequences that may arise,” added the Cabinet secretary.

He added that in July, he directed the NHIF management and all parastatals under the health ministry to submit detailed information on all projects either ongoing, contracted, committed or planned with a value exceeding Sh10 million together with back-up information on how they are committed or funded. He said such information is presently being processed.

Macharia added the process of overhaul at the NHIF is ongoing having commenced last May with the appointment of a taskforce comprising of ministry of health officials and technical support from the World Bank, USAID, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The proposed NHIF Karen hospital is estimated to cost Sh22 billion. Karen Medical Centre of Excellence after NHIF funded the feasibility study of the project. The ministry of Medical Services under former President Kibaki’s government had identified the envisaged Resource Centre as one of the flagship projects of Vision 2030.

The ministry had noted that the project would be financed through credit from the Development Bank of China, in partnership with the Development Bank of Kenya.

The plan is to have a medical centre, a training institute and an administrative building.

According to plans, the medical Centre will be in the main 10-storey tower. The tower will have an emergency unit, outpatient services, physiotherapy area, cancer treatment centre and 30 operating theatres.