Machogu taken to task over fate of Edu-Afya

Monday, April 15th, 2024 04:30 | By
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Education CS Ezekiel Machogu. PHOTO/@EduMinKenya/X

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu was on the receiving end from lawmakers over the expiry of Edu-Afya Medical Insurance Scheme that is given to learners.

MPs who sit in the Public Investments Committee (PIC) on governance and education chaired by Bumula MP Wanami Wamboka accused the ministry of exposing learners following its failure to renew the scheme.

At a meeting between the committee and Machogu, the lawmakers further accused the ministry of neglecting the learners as it would have come up with a short gap measure to protect them while negotiating for a new scheme.

They dismissed arguments by the ministry that the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) was the one covering the learners saying this was not the case on the ground.

Said Wamboka: “Why can’t the ministry put stop gap measures to this. Mr CS our children are exposed now. This is wrong.” Adding: “It is not true that NHIF has come in to cover our students. We want you to tell us what measures you have put in place to deal with this matter.”

Schemes merged

The questions by the committee came after Machogu explained thatthe ministry failed to renew the scheme because  the new Social Health Insurance Fund had collapsed all health insurance schemes including the Edu-afya. He, however, stated that the learners  are now being covered by NHIF.

 He said: “Mr Chairman, you know we have a new insurance scheme that has collapsed all other health insurance scheme s including this one of Edu-Afya. But in the meantime, we have NHIF in place.”

A month ago, Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha passed the buck to Machogu over the extension of the scheme.

Said Nakhumicha when she appeared before the National Assembly Health Committee: “It is now upon CS Ezekiel Machogu to write to us to seek an extension of the programme. We are ready to undertake this.”

The Sh4.5 billion Edu-Afya scheme was operationalized in 2018 and had been running for four and a half years before being halted in December 2023.

The scheme offered comprehensive medical insurance coverage for students in public secondary schools registered with the National Educational Management Information System (NEMIS). It also helped in the diagnosis of previously undetected - and therefore untreated - chronic conditions that cause students to miss school regularly.]In the cover, the ministry had negotiated an annual premium of Sh1,350 per student.

At the same time,  the committee has said it will be petitioning the National Assembly to put an embargo on the introduction of new projects by public universities until all pending ones are finalised.

The committee regretted that most projects started by universities have stalled because of shortage  of funds. They further regretted that some of the universities have duplicated projects which are yet to be completed.

Said Wamboka: “We will be asking the National Assembly to put an embargo on new projects so that we can allow universities to complete the pending ones.”

Samburu west MP Naisula Lesuuda, said it is high time that a solution is found to revive public universities as the situation there is dire.

She said: “Apart from the funding crisis we have in the universities, we also need to deal with these pending projects.”

The sentiments by the committee came after Machogu admitted that they are yet to complete the said projects because of  lack of adequate funding.

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