LEADER

EDITORIAL: The National Hospital Insurance Fund can do better

Red tape, bureaucracy and politically driven investments have placed the fund where it is today

In Summary

• The only public health insurer, the National Hospital Insurance Fund is underperforming despite a great potential.

• The auditor general's latest report says NHIF is broke, with  a funding gap of over Sh3.6 billion.

NHIF bimetric registration at the Nambale Subcounty Hospital on September 7, 2021.
MEDICAL COVER: NHIF bimetric registration at the Nambale Subcounty Hospital on September 7, 2021.
Image: EMOJONG OSERE

Kenya's health service cost is overburdening and there is little light at the end of the tunnel for a working public health insurance.

Fundraising for hospital bills dominate WhatsApp groups.

The only public health insurer, the National Hospital Insurance Fund is underperforming despite a great potential.

The auditor general's latest report says NHIF is broke, with  a funding gap of over Sh3.6 billion.

NHIF attributes this to millions of dormant accounts with only only 5.1 million  out of the registered 10.4 million being active.

But has NHIF asked itself why many are not keen on renewing their cover? They feel the fund has failed to meet their medical needs.

Red tape, bureaucracy and politically driven investments have placed the fund where it is today.

The audit reports shows Sh1.4 billion was paid for the drawings and design of a proposed resource centre in Karen, but 15 years down the line, this is yet to be realised because of a land row.

Taxpayers also forked out Sh3 billion for the construction of a multi-storey car park operated by the fund.

The initial cost was Sh909 million but upon completion, the total expenditure had hit Sh3.9 billion – a 337 per cent increase.

Kenyans need a working public healthcare  and will readily pay for it so long as it is well run and available at their hour of need.