NUMBERS DWINDLE

Kitui health cover scheme nears collapse, MCAs want probe

Health committee asks anti-graft commission to investigate if chief officer Dr Richard Muthoka mismanaged KCHIC.

In Summary

• A report by the Kitui assembly Health committee says only 15,000 households are currently covered, down from 127,000 families when the scheme was launched in 2018. 

• Governor Charity Ngilu launched the Kitui County Health Insurance Cover in 2018 so residents could benefit from universal healthcare. 

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu monitors KCHIC data during the launch in 2018.
DATA: Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu monitors KCHIC data during the launch in 2018.
Image: Musembi Nzengu

A health insurance cover targeting 200,000 Kitui residents is on the verge of collapse. 

A report by the Kitui assembly Health committee says only 15,000 households are currently covered down from 127,000 families when the scheme was launched in 2018. 

Governor Charity Ngilu launched the Kitui County Health Insurance Cover in 2018 so residents could benefit from universal healthcare. 

 

The MCAs say the scheme is no longer tenable because the majority of subscribers have abandoned it. 

 “The KCHIC programme was a noble idea. However, due to weak management systems it is on the verge of collapse owing to the fact that its uptake had drastically dropped over the years,” the report says.

Health committee chair Philip Nguli and his team want the anti-graft commission to investigate if chief officer Dr Richard Muthoka mismanaged KCHIC. Muthoka is also the Health CEC in an acting capacity. 

The committee also recommended a forensic audit of the KCHIC funds.

The report said the objectives of KCHIC were no longer achievable, adding that it operated illegally.

But Muthoka said the content of the report did not only display the handiwork of a team that was idle but people who were full of pettiness. 

He said that KCHIC was doing well and is professionally managed. 

 

“If they want EACC to come, let it come. We a have always had EACC coming, and there is nothing wrong with their coming, and thereafter giving a report of their findings as has happened in the past,” Muthoka said by phone.

He, however, said it must be made clear that KCHIC registration money did not go into his personal account.

“It goes to the hospital revenue account and is then reallocated to our department like any other own-source revenue.  There are regulations that have to be followed in doing that,” Muthoka said.

The chief officer said some MCAs solicited a bribe from him to shelve the report.

“Some rent-seeking members of the assembly approached me for a bribe but I declined,” Muthoka said.

 

 

 

(edited by o. owino)

Governor Charity Ngilu Charity Ngilu with a patient at the Kitui County Referral Hospital in 2018.
CONCERN: Governor Charity Ngilu Charity Ngilu with a patient at the Kitui County Referral Hospital in 2018.
Image: Musembi Nzengu